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Published in the Comments on The Automatic Earth on August, 2013
Discuss this article at the News Table inside the Diner
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Commentary on video by Nicole Foss on farming and energy saving
Fossil fuels and renewable energy discussion with Nicole Foss including the importance of climate science data to energy resoures.
Historic proof that manufacturing all the renewable energy machines and infrastructure needed to transition to a 100% Renewable Energy world economy can be achieved in two decades or less: The mass produced Liberty Ships of WWII
Three different future scenarios
Nicole Foss shares the story of how she has reduced her energy needs by 90%.
I watched and listened to the above video from a 2011 Sustainability Conference. You said you felt the energy resource poor England, with 60 million people, convinced you to sell your townhouse and buy a 40 acre farm in Ottawa with 7 barn outbuildings.
You went about reducing your energy needs by 90%, have some sheep, chickens and other farm animals, a dog sled team for winter transportation, rent out some of the land, make your own hay, grow vegetables and have extended the growing season with a greenhouse.
Your plan for making use of renewable energy was based on power with less moving parts so you avoided wind power and obtained 3 kW of PV non-tracking panels for an off grid system.
You didn’t hook up to the grid for feed in tariff (FIT) extra money because you don’t want your power going to “public uses”, don’t believe FIT will last 20 years and, in the event the grid went down, you wouldn’t have the benefit of power because a grid tied system did not allow you to store energy in batteries.
There was an easy way around that. You buy your battery bank and keep it charged from the grid, not the PV panels. You have an electrician set up a switch from the inverter to the grid so that if grid power is lost, you just isolate yourself from the grid and the PV panels will then be able to keep your batteries charged and you are supplied with power until grid power comes back.
But from your comment about “public use” of your PV electricity and your feelings about the imminent collapse of feed in tariffs (FIT), it appears that you were more influenced by Libertarian ideology than pure logic.
After all, the community that you are fostering and the responsible, low carbon footprint behavior that you are engaging in by keeping your energy sources nearby and renewable (except for the gasoline, diesel and grid tie for your electric range and other high power demand appliances) energy wood fired heating system for the house and the greenhouse (when temperatures are below freezing) is really about survival of Homo sapiens, is it not?
I don’t agree with drawing a line at the grid connection and thinking you have no responsiblility to share your power with the larger community. But, I’m grateful to you for trying to live within your means and your sound advice to your children to avoid debt like the plague.
I too believe in being debt free and have been so for over a decade even though I do have to pay for the 1/3 acre of land I rent where my manufactured home sits.
I assume, because of your belief in some type of imminent civilizational collapse, that you are designing your lifestyle to be independent of industrial civilization. You are convinced that it is all going to go away.
I don’t think so but I’ll discuss that later. If a collapse is imminent, your actions are logical. If it isn’t, you are doing yourself and humanity a favor by living closer to the land and within your means. That is most prudent of you even though 80% or more of the human species does not have the option of owning one acre to farm, let alone 40.
Considering how most people with a townhouse in England (like most of the rich EVERYWHERE that own the mining corporations, factories and are the major corrupting influence that spurs goverments to fight resource wars) ignore the huge carbon footprint that the population of the developed countries have, I admire what you have done to break the mold of that unsustainable lifestyle by setting a sustainable, boots on the ground, example to lead the way in what all of us MUST do if humanity is to survive.
I was particularly gratified that you seriously considered walling off a section of your house in the winter to keep the heating costs down. I am of the opinion that if the human population was limited to only being able to heat, cool and plumb 500 square feet per capita, a sustainable renewable energy based world would be easily achievable. Of course that would entail a commensurate restructuring of industrial capacity and a 90% downsizing of large fuel hogs like the U.S. military and “security” state bureaucracies.
You mentioned that your geothermal system goes down 140 feet. Are you aware of the advances in passive geothermal systems that use geofoam above a large open land area to keep the land from very low temperatures?
The most common uses of Geofoam are as a lightweight fill and as insulation. Some specific applications of Geofoam are outlined below.
Unstable Soil Substitute
Roadbeds & Runways (pavement insulation)
IOW, the land above the frost line is insulated too so, for all practical puposes, there is no frost line. Since you make your own hay, it is conceivable to use hay bales instead of geofoam.
Any passive geothermal loops placed down to the 140 feet below insulated soli with no frost line, but in a much larger area than a home footprint, will keep you quite comfortable. Also, the fact that your house is old means that it must be very poorly insulated compared with modern thermal mass based structures like the earthships.
I’m sure you are familiar with them. Old houses may have historical, traditional and sentimental value but they have next to zero value as low energy use living structures due to their draftiness unless you want to be bundled up with warm clothing all winter like our ancestors were.
Another “automatic” way to provide heating when you most need it is a wind turbine. When wind speed increases in the winter, that’s when you lose most of your heat from conduction. If you have a wind turbine that, like your PV array, is not only stand alone, but additionally does NOT go through an inverter but just sends DC into a resistance heating coil in some important part of your house, you will automatically get more heat in direct proportion to the strength of the wind.
I bring that up as something to think about. I don’t think you need to be overly concerned with the reliability and longevity of wind turbine moving parts. The reliability of the rotating parts of these machines has been proven by the fact that the old windmills in Texas and the midwest are still being made (now many converted to generating electricity).
They have 40 to 50 year life spans and no wind storm is going tear them apart unles it tears your house apart too. As you know, windmills, prior to the fossil fuel age, were used to pump water, mill crops and several other tasks that, without these pre-industrial Renewable Energy devices, would have been onerous.
In the United States it may be said that the conestoga, or covered wagon, settled the west and the colt 45 tamed the west. I will add that the windmill was the major
force in developing the western United States.
[/size=10pt]The covered wagon is no longer used as a means of transportation. The Colt 45 is no longer worn as a side arm and known as ‘the peace keeper.’ However, the windmill, that other great symbol of the nineteenth century American West, is now becoming the twenty-first century symbol of renewable energy.
Now that is staying power! [/size]
I am certain that John D. Rockefeller did not like windmills at all. I believe he was that fine fellow that said, “Competition is a sin”. He also said THIS:
“Try to turn every disaster into an opportunity. ”
Attributed in The Rockefellers (1976) by Peter Collier and David Horowitz
Measured in today’s dollars, Rockefeller is the richest person in the history of mankind.
Considering the mindset of this fine fellow and his descendents in the fossil fuel industry, it is not far fetched to believe than when an opportunity wasn’t “presenting itself” due some competitive nuisance (like ethanol), they would contrive a “disaster” for said competition that they could then turn into an OPPORTUNITY (I.E. PROFIT). More on that below.
It seems that we can see where the modern, consciense free expression,” Never waste a crisis” originated. I don’t think Karl Rove and the Bush family invented the idea of deliberately creating a crisis in order to obtain a profit or stifle competiton, do you?
Fossil fuels and renewable energy discussion with Nicole Foss including the importance of climate science data to energy resources.
At any rate, with all that wood you have, you should do all right if the winds don’t get too high from global climate change. Humans, according to science, cannot function when average wind speeds are 50 mph or greater. Let us hope that global climate change doesn’t produce such average wind speeds.
I heard this information and a lot more about the massive threat to humanity that global climate change represents and the absolutely vital requirement that we stop burning fossil fuels now, not 50 or a hundred years from now, from a panel of scientists including James Hansen. The climate catastrophe is upon us and is baked in for up to a thousand years. This is not hyperbole.Video here:
I will refer to this a few more times in this document.
The ten indicators that climate scientists are monitoring are all going into uncharted territory promising a climate that humans have never, ever been subjected to. See the article I posted on my channel (written nearly three years ago) with some recent charts I added at the top.
Please ignore the snark I included in that post. I am just a bit tired of having the data I present here being viewed as questionable, debatable, or some tree hugger’s hysterical opinion.
Did you know one of the founders of a Disinformation Think Tank (The George C. Marshal Institute) created to defend the Reagan SDI star wars boondoggle (when 6,500 of the top scientists signed a document refusing to work in it) and, after the cold war ended, switched to adopt the “Tobacco Strategy” of sowing doubt about the global warming science, had been previously president of Rockefeller University?
What does propaganda fostered by the fossil fuel industry for the purpose of denying Global Climate Change have to do with the subject of this letter to you?
A lot. I’ll get to that but now I wish to remind you of a response you wrote to me in a comment forum about a year ago when I complained that you had not figured in the cost of poisoned aquifers from fracking gas drilling in the EROEI of fracked gas. I further said that, given the fact that Renewable Energy does not pollute, it actually is more cost effective than fossil fuels.
Why wait a year to answer you? Because I ran into exactly the same talking points in several other comment forums when the subject of fossil fuels versus renewable energy came up. So I set about to research your claims and predictions.
I have answered the statements and predictions you made. Nearly 100% of your predictions have not come about. In fact, in some cases the exact reverse of what you predicted has happened.
Also, some of your statements were factually incorrect at the time you made them, not just a year after you made them. Please read them and tell me if you have revised your views in these matters.
I have included your statements in exactly the same sequence as you made them without any alterations whatsoever.
Your statements are in brown color
My response in blue
Renewables represent a drop in the bucket of global supply.
Energy from renewable resources—wind, water, the sun, biomass and geothermal energy—is inexhaustible and clean. Renewable energy currently constitutes 15% of the global energy mix.
They are having no effect whatsoever on fossil fuel prices.
(Phase 2) So the huge demand destruction in fossil fuels this past year was ONLY related to the depression we have been in since 2008!!? Why then, didn’t said demand destruction occur THEN? Why did that demand destruction DOVETAIL with the explosive growth of energy and wind in the USA in 2011 and 2012?
Charts: The Smart Money Is on Renewable Energy
—By Tim McDonnell
Mon Apr. 22, 2013
IEA Predicts Wind to Double and Solar Solar to Triple in 6 Years
The European Investment Bank (EIB), the world’s largest public financial institution, has announced that, effective immediately, it will no longer finance most coal-, lignite- and oil-fired power stations in an effort to help Europe meet its climate targets.
They are more expensive than fossil fuels
When you account for the effects which are not reflected in the market price of fossil fuels, like air pollution and health impacts, the true cost of coal and other fossil fuels is higher than the cost of most renewable energy technologies.
In the July 2011 PE magazine article “Why We Need Rational Selection of Energy Projects,” the author stated that “photovoltaic electricity generation cannot be an energy source for the future” because photovoltaics require more energy than they produce
(during their lifetime), thus their “Energy Return Ratio (ERR) is less than 1:1.”Statements to this effect were not uncommon in the 1980s, based on some early PV prototypes. However, today’s PVs return far more energy than that embodied in the life cycle of a solar system (see Figure 1).Their energy payback times (EPBT)—the time it takes to produce all the energy used in their life cycles—currently are between six months to two years, depending on the location/solar irradiation and the technology. And with expected life times of 30 years, their ERRs are in the range of 60:1 to 15:1, depending on the location and the technology, thus returning 15 to 60 times more energy than the energy they use. Here is a basic tutorial on the subject.
because of their very low EROEI
(phase 3) See above. The EROEI of fossil fuels is lower than Renewable energy EROEI.
However, today’s PVs return far more energy than that embodied in the life cycle of a solar system (see Figure 1).
Their energy payback times (EPBT)—the time it takes to produce all the energy used in their life cycles—currently are between six months to two years, depending on the location/solar irradiation and the technology. And with expected life times of 30 years, their ERRs are in the range of 60:1 to 15:1, depending on the location and the technology, thus returning 15 to 60 times more energy than the energy they use. Here is a basic tutorial on the subject.
Energy Payback Time = (Emat+Emanuf+Etrans+Einst+EEOL) / (Eagen–Eaoper)
Emat: Primary energy demand to produce materials comprising PV system
Emanuf: Primary energy demand to manufacture PV system
Etrans: Primary energy demand to transport materials used during the life cycle
Einst: Primary energy demand to install the system
EEOL: Primary energy demand for end-of-life management
Eagen: Annual electricity generation in primary energy terms
Eaoper: Annual energy demand for operation and maintenance in primary energy termsThe traditional way of calculating the EROI of PV is EROI = lifetime/EPBT, thus an EPBT of one year and life expectancy of 30 years corresponds to an EROI of 1:30..
Scientific Investigations of Alcohol Fuels 1890 – 1920
Studies of alcohol as an internal combustion engine fuel began in the U.S. with the Edison Electric Testing Laboratory and Columbia University in 1906. Elihu Thomson reported that despite a smaller heat or B.T.U. value, “a gallon of alcohol will develop substantially the same power in an internal combustion engine as a gallon of gasoline. This is owing to the superior efficiency of operation…”62 Other researchers confirmed the same phenomena around the same time.
USDA tests in 1906 also demonstrated the efficiency of alcohol in engines and described how gasoline engines could be modified for higher power with pure alcohol fuel or for equivalent fuel consumption, depending on the need.63
The U.S. Geological Service and the U.S. Navy performed 2000 tests on alcohol and gasoline engines in 1907 and 1908 in Norfolk, Va. and St. Louis, Mo. They found that much higher engine compression ratios could be achieved with alcohol than with gasoline. When the compression ratios were adjusted for each fuel, fuel economy was virtually equal despite the greater B.T.U. value of gasoline. “In regard to general cleanliness, such as absence of smoke and disagreeable odors, alcohol has many advantages over gasoline or kerosene as a fuel,” .[/b]the report said. “The exhaust from an alcohol engine is never clouded with a black or grayish smoke.”64
USGS continued the comparative tests and later noted that alcohol was “a more ideal fuel than gasoline” with better efficiency despite the high cost.65
The French War Office tested gasoline, benzene and an alcohol-benzene blend in road tests in 1909, and the results showed that benzene gave higher mileage than gasoline or the alcohol blend in existing French trucks.66
The British Fuel Research Board also tested alcohol and benzene mixtures around the turn of the century and just before World War I, finding that alcohol blends had better thermal efficiency than gasoline but that engines developed less brake horsepower at low rpm.67
On the other hand, a British researcher named Watson found that thermal efficiencies for alcohol, benzene and gasoline were very nearly equal.68
These experiments are representative of work underway before and during World War I. The conclusions were so definitive that Scientific American concluded in 1918: “It is now definitely established that alcohol can be blended with gasoline to produce a suitable motor fuel …”69 By 1920, the consensus, Scientific American said, was “a universal assumption that [ethyl] alcohol in some form will be a constituent of the motor fuel of the future.”
Alcohol met all possible technical objections, and although it was more expensive than gasoline, it was not prohibitively expensive in blends with gasoline. “Every chemist knows [alcohol and gasoline] will mix, and every engineer knows [they] will drive an internal combustion engine.”70
And then along came Prohibition and saved the day for gasoline.
So a ‘Prohibition law “disaster” for ethanol was a rather convenient profit opportunity, was it not? It is quite conceivable that a “disaster” was CREATED (Rockefeller “donated” millons to the Temperance movement.) for ethanol in order to “Try to turn every disaster into an opportunity. “.
After all, competition was a “sin” for the Rockefellers and big oil. It may be “real politik” but it certainly isn’t cricket. The terms “free market” and “level playing field of energy resources” ring rather hollow in the “real world” of big oil market rigging and lawmaker bribing, blackmailing or bullying.
I dare say not much has changed.
Alcohol from grain and potatoes, at about 25 to 30 cents per gallon, was far too expensive to compete with petroleum, but alcohol from Cuban molasses, at 10 cents per gallon, was thought to be competitive.
Some observers suspected a conspiracy in the fact that Standard Oil of New Jersey had financial ties to the Caribbean alcohol market. The influence of an oil company over the alcohol industry was “a combination which many will regard as sinister,” said Tweedy.59
In 1942, Senate committees began looking into the extent to which the oil industry had controlled other industries, including the alcohol industry and the rubber industry. Attorney General Thurmond Arnold testified that anti-trust investigations had taken place into the oil industry’s influence in the alcohol industry in the 1913-1920 period, in the early 1920s, and between 1927 and 1936. “Renewed complaints in 1939 were brought to the anti-trust division but because of funds no action was taken,” Arnold said.60
Then the investigation of 1941 which exposed a “marriage” between Standard Oil Co. and the German chemical company I.G. Farben also brought new evidence concerning complex price and marketing agreements between du Pont Corp., a major investor in and producer of leaded gasoline, U.S. Industrial Alcohol Co. and their subsidiary, Cuba Distilling Co.
The investigation was eventually dropped, like dozens of others in many different kinds of industries, due to the need to enlist industry support in the war effort.
However, the top directors of many oil companies agreed to resign and oil industry stocks in molasses companies were sold off as part of a compromise worked out with Arnold.
Ethanol WAS ALWAYS a superior fuel to gasoline even WITHOUT the horrendous pollutants that an ICE burning gasoline produces. And ethanol requires NO CATALYTIC CONVERTER.
Every nasty, negative naysaying thing you have heard about ethanol from it using up food crops to having a “low” EROEI to corroding engines from increased water vapor to it being less economical than gasoline is DISINFORMATION and I can prove it point by point.
**”The gasoline engine became the preferred engine for the automobile because gasoline was cheaper than alcohol, not because it was a better fuel. And, because alcohol was not available at any price from 1920 to 1933, a period during which the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol was banned nationally as mandated in the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The amendment was repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment on December 5, 1933. In time to produce alcohol fuels during World War II.
By the time World War II ended, the gasoline engine had become “entrenched” because gasoline remained cheaper than Alcohol, and widely distributed – gas stations were everywhere.”
and very large fossil fuel dependency.
(phase 3) Maybe that was true in 1980 but NOW it is only partially true. Norway has about 100% penetration of renewable energy in their electric grid. Other highly industrialized countries have high penetration as well. This mean the electric arc furnaces for smelting steel and other high temperature thermal processes dependent on electricity are using very little fossil fuels to make renewable energy machines in these places.
Also Nuclear power plants, something neither you nor I favor, have always been made with fossil fuels but that never stopped our government from making or heavily subsidizing that new energy technology. Why should it be different for renewable energy machines?
Observe below the Renewable Energy penetration of the electric grid in various industrialized countries
Electric Grid Renewable energy Penetration in Selected Markets
Although we technically do not have PV manufacturing plants or Wind turbine manufacturers driving EV trucks or mining with EV machines as well as powering their factories with wind and PV or some other renewable energy, it’s just a matter of time.
WHY? Because of the HIGH EROEI of Renewable Energy devices. They pay for themselves in a few years and then, as long as they are properly maintained, last a number of decades while using ZERO fossil fuels throughout the entire period.
The fossil fuel powered internal combustion machine is not competitive with Renewable Energy technolgies UNLESS fossil fuels retain their massive subsidies and continue to limit the market penetration of renewable energy systems in the USA and elseware with the threadbare excuse, and untrue allegation, that they are “too intermittent”.
The Great Transition, Part I: From Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy
Lester R. Brown
In fact renewables is a minomer. The sun will continue to shine and the wind to blow, but steel is not renewable and neither are many other essential components.
Six Terrawat hours a year of energy is expended each year in the USA just to make the internal combustion engines and spare parts. How come you never complained of this massive amount of energy involving “non-renewable” steel used in manufacturing internal combustion machines?
Renewable Energy devices terminology refers to the FACT, that once they are constructed, they don’t USE fossil fuels to output energy. And the metal used in Renewables is not high temperature alloy metal like that required for internal combustion engines which makes it recyclable with LESS energy than that required for internal combustion engine metals.
In fact, we need far less steel and other metals to replace the entire internal combustion independent infrastructure with renewable energy WITHOUT ANY ADDITIONAL MINING by just cannibalizing the internal combustion machines for Renewable Energy machine metals as we make the transition.
Yes, I know about the rare earth metals mining pollution. I can only remind you of that phrase, “drop in the bucket” compared with the benefits of doing away with fossil fuels altogether.
For As Long As The Sun Shines: The Non-Crisis of PV Module Reliability
The demand and price collapse will kill much of renewable development,
Prices have gone up for fossil fuels even as demand has gone down. This has actually spurred the switch to renewables , not dampened it.
Retail Prices (Dollars per Gallon) 2012-2013
Volatile fossil fuel prices make renewable energy more attractive
especially at a large scale.
To date, we’ve committed over $1 billion to renewable energy project investments, signed … It may also be more feasible to build larger power installations …. and match their demand with utility-scale solution
You cannot run an industrial society on intermittent energy sources with low EROEI.
The Renewable energy blend eliminates intermittency and the low EROEI claim has been proven, not just inaccurate, but the exact reverse.
CSP technology can also be coupled with energy storage, one of the hottest topics in the renewable energy industry this year. Plants that include energy storage with molten salt can store solar power and dispatch it in the early evening and into the night. Tex Wilkins from the CSP Alliance thinks this application could make PV, which is often viewed as a threat to CSP, a complimentary technology. “The ability of CSP with storage to dispatch its power to the grid in the early morning and evening can combine with daytime PV to spread out the use of solar power from the time people get up early in the morning until they go to bed late at night,” he explained. Wilkins said that in five years most CSP plants will include energy storage. Van Scoter from eSolar said in five years he expects that most CSP projects will include molten salt or ISCC technology. “There is also a high potential for projects involving industrial process heat, EOR and desalination,” he said.
All CSP experts said that utilities are just beginning to recognize CSP’s value – a renewable energy able to provide base load, dispatchable power. According to SkyFuel’s Mason, “This attribute of CSP is its main differentiator from PV and wind, and will ensure its increasing uptake in the power market.”
Intermittency Of Renewables?… Not So Much
For As Long As The Sun Shines: The Non-Crisis of PV Module Reliability
Feed in tariffs are already being cut worldwide, and without them renewable power is not competitive.
This is a generalization and is inaccurate as well.
It is also a faulty comparison. The MASSIVE subsidies fossil and nuclear fules get dwarf any feed in tariff “advantage” for Renewable energy.
If all fossil and nuclear fuel subsidies were removed, the ridiculously tiny Renewable Energy subsidies in the form of feed in tariffs and other paltry incentives would be even less significant than they are now.
I know you are adverse to feed in tariffs. It is not logical for you to be adverse to FIT and not ALSO be adverse to fossil fuel subsidies like THESE:
Expensing of Intangible Drilling Costs
Percentage Depletion Allowance
Deduction for Tertiary Injectants
Geological and Geophysical Expenditures
Exception for passive loss limitations for oil and gas
Enhanced oil recovery credit
Marginal oil well credit
You eliminate ALL THE ABOVE and the pittance that FIT represents can be eliminated quite easily, thank you very much. Just google fossil fuel and nuclear power subsidies to date in the USA alone and then look at the tiny sliver of a percentage of subsidies for renewables to date.
Of course, fossil fuel industries want renewable enrgy to go away and are doing everything possible to make that happen. Eliminating FIT would be one step to that goal while keeping fossil fuel subsidies intact.
Said Brian Jennings, ACE executive vice president, in a release, “If oil companies cannot stand on their own two feet after 100 years of clinging to certain taxpayer subsidies, Congress shouldn’t hurt American consumers by repealing the RFS, a policy that helps level the playing field with oil a little bit by giving people affordable and renewable fuel choices.”
Since we cannot run this society on renewables, our society will have to change.
A logical conclusion based on the low EROEI incorrect premise and the intermittency incorrect premise.
With an incorrect premise, you will always come to the wrong conclusion.
The fact that renewable energy has grown in leaps and bounds for over three years now is proof that it is a more profitable energy source, as well as being non-polluting after manufacture, than the poisonous fossil fuels.
The renewable energy percentage use targets are INCREASING, not decreasing as you incorrectly believe. Here’s just one example:
Vermont may have more foresight than other states it its ambitious 90% renewable energy target by 2050, but it’s really the sign of a paradigm shift in energy, says Dave.
Prepare For Disruptive Solar Technology
In 2013, the landscape is drastically different. Solar power is here to stay, and the major manufacturers should be motivated to make big moves.
We will have to learn to live within our means.
Most people in the world already do. It’s people with giant carbon footprints that don’t.
I think what you are doing in lowering your carbon footprint is laudable but be aware that every time you board an aircraft, you have just used up about 6 months worth of the carbon footprint of a person in the third world. That doesn’t help.
This article was not about poisoned aquifers. I have written about that before though. I cannot cover everything in every article or there would be no focus. Of course fracking is obscene, the environmental risks are huge and a few well connected individuals are making a killing from the ponzi scheme. The price collapse will eventually prevent it, just not right now when there is still money to be made.
Yes, the environmental risks, and damages as well, are already huge. Fracking adds insult to injury. It’s time to stop supporting this biosphere killing technology, regardless of the fossil fuel industry’s stranglehold on governments and policy.
The country is in the midst of an unprecedented oil and gas drilling rush—brought on by a controversial technology called hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
Along with this fracking-enabled oil and gas rush have come troubling reports of poisoned drinking water, polluted air, mysterious animal deaths, industrial disasters and explosions. We call them Fraccidents.
The numbers are bad even with externalities excluded, and are of course much worse with them. Some of these things are very difficult to quantify, and over-quantification doesn’t really help anyway.
Well, it DOES HELP the frackers in attracting investment capital to have energy experts publish EROEI numbers above 1:1, does it not? A real world EROEI woud remind these planet poisoners of the repercussions of their actions AND make it HARDER for them to get investment capital.
The less happy the EROEI numbers, the less inclined they will be to engage in criminal and toxic activity. If energy experts don’t do it, who is, besides the scientific community which is getting drowned out by the bought and paid for media?
I can show you a Buffalo University study about three years old (not the snow job that came later falsely claiming it was peer reviewed and forced to recant) that proved conclusively that Uranium traces would come up in the process of fracking and invade the aquifers, not at radiactive dose danger levels but as heavy metal pollutants.
There’s a LOT more bad stuff going on out there. If you don’t know about it, you should.
Gas fracking corruption posts:
‘Fracking’ Mobilizes Uranium in Marcellus Shale, UB Research Finds
This is real politik – the way the world really works.
You mean that’s the way the POLITICAL WORLD works.
The planet and the biosphere, according to serious, objective, proven environmental science, will become uninhabitable if we do not stop burning fossil fuels within a couple of decades (See video above in this document of panel of scientists where one British Scientist actually says that the REAL, “real world” is about to overwhelm the perception managed “real politik, real world” the fossil fuel industry and most of mankind falsely believe they live in. Note: Part 2 of that video is extremely informative as well.).
The intransigence of the fossil fuel industry in this matter is a given. They wish to avoid liability for the damage they have casued so they have, for several decades, (See the George C. Marshal Institute) launched a campaign of disinformation to claim there is NO climate threat whatsoever.
The disinformation has used the scare tactic that we are running out of fossil fuels. Sure, according to latest estimates, we have about 37 years left of oil and slightly over 100 years of coal.
I certainly think those numbers don’t translate into an imminent collapse UNLESS the fossil fuel fascists (that isn’t hyperbole) engineer one as an additional scare tactic.
Don’t tell me the industry famous for contrived price shocks and oil resource wars is not capable of that.
Here’s a PRIME example of what the fossil fuel industry has done to the USA and the world:
A quote from the following Peer Reviewed book:
Dilworth (2010-03-12). Too Smart for our Own Good (pp. 399-400). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.
“As suggested earlier, war, for example, which represents a cost for society, is a source of profit to capitalists. In this way we can partly understand e.g. the American military expenditures in the Persian Gulf area. Already before the first Gulf War, i.e. in 1985, the United States spent $47 billion projecting power into the region. If seen as being spent to obtain Gulf oil, It AMOUNTED TO $468 PER BARREL, or 18 TIMES the $27 or so that at that time was paid for the oil itself.
In fact, if Americans had spent as much to make buildings heat-tight as they spent in ONE YEAR at the end of the 1980s on the military forces meant to protect the Middle Eastern oil fields, THEY COULD HAVE ELIMINATED THE NEED TO IMPORT OIL from the Middle East.
So why have they not done so? Because, while the $468 per barrel may be seen as being a cost the American taxpayers had to bear, and a negative social effect those living in the Gulf area had to bear, it meant only profits for American capitalists. ”
Note: I added the bold caps emphasis on the barrel of oil price, money spent in one year and the need to import oil from the Middle East.
Consequently, all extrapolated future scenarios the Peak Oil people come up with must have their premises scrutinized to see how much of that is fossil fuel propaganda.
I have. The collapse scenario does not add up.
In that video above, the scientific community makes it crystal clear that there is easily another 100 years of coal, a much more polluting fossil fuel than oil, available regardless of the state of petroleum depletion.
So it is not realistic to say everything is just going stop one day from a chain of collapses in economies. The available fossil fuels are still TOO available.
The worsening weather will be the ONLY thing that will spur change unless the 1% performs a coup d’état on the fossil fuel world power structure and even then we already passed the point a couple of decades ago when bioremediation was going to be fairly straight forward.
So the Peak Oil people and preppers, like you, are doing themselves a world of good by preparing for a lower carbon footprint and learning many low tech survival skills because, even in the best of the three scenarios I envisioned (no die off), we will still have to reduce our carbon footprint until we get all the bugs out of the 100% renewable energy PLUS 20-40% carbon sequestering economy implemented to GET BACK to below 350 ppm.
You are wrong to think it will all collapse but you are right to prepare for hard times and horrible weather. Hansen said the atmospheric and oceanic inertia is nearly 100 years. I had thought it was only about 30 years.
That means we are experiencing NOW the effects of our generated pollutants (if you say the incubation inertia is 50 years or so) as of 1963!
Consider all the pollutants that have poured in to the biosphere since then and you start to understand why brilliant people like Guy McPherson are so despondent. There is NO WAY we can stop the pollution/bad weather clock from CONTINUING to deteriorate for another 50 years (or 100 if Hansen is right) even if we STOPPED using all fossil fuels today.
I’m not in charge and neither are you. But clinging to this fossil fuel fantasyland of cheap power and all we “owe” it for our civilization is not going to do anything but make things deteriorate faster.
If enough people reach the 1%, maybe they will wake up. It’s all we can do in addition to trying to foster community.
The system, as defined by the fossil fuel fascist dystopia that currently runs most of the human affairs among the 1 billion population in the developed world that are saddling the other 6 billion, who are totally free of guilt for causing it, with this climate horror we are beginning to experience, IS quite stubborn and does not wish to change the status quo.
Mother nature will force it to do so.
Whether it is done within the next two decades or not (i.e. a swtch to 100% PLUS bioremediation Renewable Energy steady state economy) will dictate the size of the die off, not only of humans but thousands of other species as well.
We are now in a climate cake that has been baked for about 1,000 years according to atmospheric, objective, proven with experimental data, science.
My somewhat quixotic hope as fleshed out in the following article is that the 1% will respond to the crisis with a crash program to bioremediate the biosphere as a matter of enlightened self interest.
If the crash program to switch to renewable energy is to begin soon, I expect the trigger for the crash program will be the first ice free arctic summer (according to my estimates :icon_mrgreen:) in 2017.
So I would use that future melting now as a rallying point to wake people up and join in the effort to ban fossil fuels from planet earth. Expect the fossil fuelers to counter that polar ice melting catastrophic reality with propaganda about what a “wonderful” thing it is to have a new ocean to shorten ship traveling (i.e. TANKERS) distances. So it goes.
But if things go well for humanity and the 1% galvanize to save the biosphere and their stuff :icon_mrgreen:, we will witness the dismantelling of the centralized fossil fuel infrastructure, it’s use and, more importantly, the relinquishing of political power worldwide by big oil.
15 April 2013
James Hansen1. Exaggeration? I have been told of specific well-respected people who have asserted that “Jim Hansen exaggerates” the magnitude and imminence of the climate threat. If only that were true, I would be happy.
[b]“Magnitude and imminence” compose most of the climate story.[b]
It’s about money and power.
Correct. It has ALWAYS been about POWER (which always brings easy money).
It has NEVER been about ENERGY beyond CONTROLLING the spigot to we-the-people.
That’s why the fossil fuel industry simply didn’t switch to the much more profitable and economical renewable energy technologies long ago (they certainly have the money to do so); they simply could not figure out a way to retain POWER and CONTROL with a distributed, rather than a centralized energy system.
The expansion phase of the bubble concealed that for a while by floating many boats temporarily.
No comment except that the forces of nature will overwhelm any bubble mechanics that corrupt central bankers or Wall Street can come up with.
The importance of financial activity pales in the face of climate change.
I wish that wasn’t the way it worked, but it does, whether we like it or not. All we can do is to understand our situation and make the best of it.
Renewable Energy is making life and profits more and more difficult for the fossil fuel corporations.
But you are right that they run the corrupt system and do not want to cede their power (even if it kills all of us).
Robert F. Kennedy Jr: In the next decade there will be an epic battle for survival for humanity against the forces of ignorance and greed. It’s going to be Armageddon, represented by the oil industry on one side, versus the renewable industry on the other.
And people are going to have to choose sides – including politically. They will have to choose sides because oil and coal, they will not be able to survive – they are not going to be able to burn their proven reserves.
If they do, then we are all dead. And they are quite willing to burn it. We’re all going to be part of that battle. We are going to watch governments being buffeted by the whims of money and greed on one side, and idealism and hope on the other.
This ends my response and rebuttal of your statements and predicitons.
Do you now recognize that what you told me, wittingly or unwittingly, was fossil fuel anti-renewable energy propaganda?
I have shown the error in your statements and request you reconsider your position on everything you said to me.
The fossil fuel industry and those who side with it, regardless of appearing to take a pro-environment position in their personal lives, are hurting our chances for a viable biosphere.
Those who, instead, simply stand their ground on the settled climate science and state unequivocally that fossil fuels must be BANNED from human use forever and the fossil fuel industries dismantled while a massive transition to a lower carbon footprint and 100% plus renewable energy economy takes place, are the only hope Homo sapiens has.
The question is, which side are you on?
Typical phases of resistance to renewable energy, as descriped by Dr. Herman Scheer are as follows:
Phase 1 – Belittle & Deny the Renewable Energy Option
Phase 2 – Denounce & Mobilize Against the Renewable Energy Option
Phase 3 - Spread Doubt & Misrepresent the Challenges in the Disguise of General Support
(Note: reaching Phase 3 doesn’t mean that Phase 1 & 2 will disappear.)
Historic proof that manufacturing all the renewable energy machines and infrastructure needed to transition to a 100% Renewable Energy world ecnomy can be achieved in two decades or less: The mass produced Liberty Ships of WWII.
The other day, a knowledgable mechanical engineer I know stated this concern about the colossal challenge and, in his opinion, impossibility of switching to renewable energy machines in time to avoid a collapse from an energy to manufacture and global industrial capacity limitation in our civilizational infrastructure.
I admire your enthusiasm, and I agree with many of the points you make. Yes ICE waste high EROEI consistently, yes fossil fuels and conventional engineering has a warped distorted perspective because of the ICE, and yes we have an oil oligarchy protecting its turf.
However say we hypothetically made all the oil companies dissappear tommorow and where able to suspend the laws of time and implement our favorite renewables of choice and then where tasked with making certain all of societies critical needs were met we’d have a tall order. The devil is in the details and quantities.
Its the magnitudes, its 21 million barallels per day we are dependent on. Its created massive structural centralization that can only be sustained by incredible energetic inputs. Not enough wind, and not enough rare earth material for PV’s to scale and replace. We have to structurally rearrange society to solve the problem. Distributed solar powered villaged, not bit cities and surely not suburbia. I fear we’ll sink very useful resources and capital towards these energy sources (as we arguably have with wind) when the real answer is structural change.
I have shown evidence that there are several multiples of the energy we now consume available just from wind power. This data came from a recent study by Lawrence Livermore Laboratory Scientists.
He thinks we CAN’T do it even if we had enough wind because of the colossal challenge and, in his opinion, impossibility of switching to renewable enrgy machines in time to avoid a collapse from an energy required to manufacture and global industrial capacity limitation in our civilizational infrastructure.
His solution is to survive the coming collapse with small distributed energy systems and a radically scaled down carbon footprint. Sadly, that option will not be available to a large percentage of humanity.
Hoping for a more positive future scenario, I analyzed his concerns to see if they are valid and we have no other option but to face a collapse and a die off with the surviving population living at much lower energy use levels.
I’m happy to report that, although the mechanical engineer has just cause to be concerned, we can, in reality, transition to 100% Renewable Energy without overtaxing our civilizational resources.
This a slim hope but a real one based on history and the word’s present manufacturing might. Read on.
I give you the logistics aiding marvel of WWII, the Liberty Ship. It was THE JIT (just in time), SIT (sometimes in time) and sometimes NIT (never in time because it was torpedoed) cargo delivery system that helped us win the war.
This was a mass produced ship. These ships are a testament to the ability to build an enormous quantity of machines on a global scale that the U.S. was capable of over half a century ago.
The Liberty ship model used two oil boilers and was propelled by a single-screw steam engine, which gave the liberty ship a cruise speed of 11 to 11.5 knots. The ships were 441.5 feet long, with a 57 foot beam and a 28 foot draft.
The ships were designed to minimize labor and material costs; this was done in part by replacing many rivets with welds. This was a new technique, so workers were inexperienced and engineers had little data to go on. Additionally, much of the shipyards’ labor force had been replaced with women as men joined the armed forces. Because of this, early ships took quite a long time to build – the Patrick Henry taking 244 days -
but the average building time eventually came down to just 42 days.
A total of 2,710 Liberty ships were built, with an expected lifespan of just five years. A little more than 2,400 made it through the war, and 835 of these entered the US cargo fleet. Many others entered Greek and Italian fleets. Many of these ships were destroyed by leftover mines, which had been forgotten or inadequately cleared. Two ships survive today, both operating as museum ships. They are still seaworthy, and one (the Jeremiah O’Brien) sailed from San Francisco to England in 1994.
These ships had a design flaw. The grade of steel used to build them suffered from embrittlement. Cracks would propagate and in 3 cases caused the ships to split in half and sink. It was discovered and remediated.
Ships operating in the North Atlantic were often exposed to temperatures below a critical temperature, which changed the failure mechanism from ductile to brittle. Because the hulls were welded together, the cracks could propagate across very large distances; this would not have been possible in riveted ships.
A crack stress concentrator contributed to many of the failures. Many of the cracks were nucleated at an edge where a weld was positioned next to a hatch; the edge of the crack and the weld itself both acted as crack concentrators. Also contributing to failures was heavy overloading of the ships, which increased the stress on the hull. Engineers applied several reinforcements to the ship hulls to arrest crack propagation and initiation problems.
Heavily loaded ship
Today, several countries have, as do we, a much greater industrial capacity. It is inaccurate to claim that we cannot produce sufficient renewable energy devices in a decade or so to replace the internal combustion engine everywhere in our civilization. The industrial capacity is there and is easily provable by asking some simple questions about the fossil fuel powered ICE status quo:
[size=10pt]How long do ICE powered machines last?
How much energy does it require to mine the raw materials and manufacture the millions of engines wearing out and being replaced day in and day out?
What happens if ALL THAT INDUSTRIAL CAPACITY is, instead, dedicated to manufacturing Renewable Energy machines?
IOW, if there is a ten to twenty year turnover NOW in our present civilization involving manufacture and replacement of the ICEs we use, why can’t we retool and convert the entire ICE fossil fuel dependent civilization to a Renewable Energy Machine dependent civilization?
1) The industrial capacity is certainly there to do it EASILY in two decades and maybe just ten years with a concerted push.
2) Since Renewable Energy machines use LESS metal and do not require high temperature alloys, a cash for clunkers worldwide program could obtain more than enough metal raw material without ANY ADDITIONAL MINING (except for rare earth minerals – a drop in the bucket – :icon_mrgreen: LOL- compared to all the mining presently done for metals to build the ICE) by just recycling the ICE parts into Renewable Energy machines.
3) Just as in WWII, but on a worldwide scale, the recession/depression would end as millions of people were put to work on the colossal transition to Renewable Energy.
[size=14pt]HOWEVER, despite our ABILITY to TRANSITION TO 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY, we “CAN’T DO IT” ??? because the fossil fuel industry has tremendous influence on the worldwide political power structure from the USA to Middle East to Russia to China.
IOW, it was NEVER
1. An energy problem,
2. A “laws of thermodynamics” problem,
3. A mining waste and pollution problem,
4. A lack of wind or sun problem,
5. An environmental problem,
6. An industrial capac