The board's server will undergo upgrade maintenance tonight, Nov 5, 2014, beginning approximately around 10 PM ET. Prepare for some possible down time during this process.
FAQ    Search

Board index » Word on the Street » News & Debate




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 388 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 20  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Fri June 20, 2014 3:52 pm 
Offline
User avatar
TIER 1 Essential Critical Infrastructure Worker
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 9:08 pm
Posts: 6832
Location: 5th floor, Bay 7, position 5740
When exactly did it become politically savy to start by stating "I'm not a scientist but" and then go on to disagree with scientific consensus?


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Fri June 20, 2014 4:06 pm 
Offline
User avatar
NEVER STOP JAMMING!
 Profile

Joined: Wed January 02, 2013 1:56 am
Posts: 20149
Image

_________________
(patriotic choking noises)


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Fri June 20, 2014 4:51 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Site Admin
 Profile

Joined: Wed December 12, 2012 10:33 pm
Posts: 6494
Image


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Fri June 20, 2014 4:58 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Rank This Poster
 Profile

Joined: Wed January 30, 2013 4:30 pm
Posts: 4728
Image

_________________
cutuphalfdead wrote:
so glad i don't see signatures


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Fri June 20, 2014 6:00 pm 
Offline
User avatar
NEVER STOP JAMMING!
 Profile

Joined: Wed January 02, 2013 1:56 am
Posts: 20149
Image

_________________
(patriotic choking noises)


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Fri June 20, 2014 6:06 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Rank This Poster
 Profile

Joined: Wed January 30, 2013 4:30 pm
Posts: 4728
welp

_________________
cutuphalfdead wrote:
so glad i don't see signatures


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Wed June 25, 2014 2:45 am 
Offline
User avatar
Misplaced My Sponge
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 10:41 am
Posts: 5659
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
Plastic Stones, Melting Snails: 3 New Ways To Maim a Planet
Humans to Earth: "Drop dead"
Image

By
Coco McPherson
June 24, 2014 12:20 PM ET

Let’s just admit we’re an invasive species whose virulent impact on the natural world resembles science fiction.

Last month, the National Climate Assessment bluntly detailed the devastating effects of human activity being experienced in every part of the U.S.; page after page of plague and pestilence including drought, flooding, heat waves, wild fires, water scarcity and forests consumed by heat-loving bugs. March’s terrifying IPCC report flatly stated that the warming planet was under assault and warned of the dire consequences to come, particularly for the world's poorest citizens.


"It’s clear that we're irretrievably past the point of 'stopping' climate change," environmentalist and author Bill McKibben tells Rolling Stone. "Every week brings new bad news, most recently from the Antarctic, where it's clear that no matter what we do there's a huge loss coming on the West Antarctic ice sheet, with about 10 feet of extra sea level rise as a result. So we don't get our old world back. The most important thing that's happened in the lifetime of any human now alive is that the Holocene [epoch, which began roughly 12,000 years ago] has come to an end."

If the Holocene epoch is over, which epoch are we in? Many scientists argue we're in the Anthropocene, defined chiefly by human activity permanently altering the Earth. Three horrifying discoveries support the argument:

1. PLASTIC STONES

This month brought news of plastiglomerate formations on beaches. These "stones" are monstrous anthropogenic composites of plastic, sand, wood, rocks, shells, rubber tubing and fishing junk including nets, rope and anything else melted plastic might adhere to. Because plastic degrades so slowly, these plastic stones are now part of the planet’s geological record; a permanent marker of our civilization.

Oceanographer Captain Charles Moore, a marine plastic pollution expert who discovered the stones, also identified the hideous North Pacific gyre, a plastic-saturated stretch of ocean that's one of the most polluted areas in the world. In 1999, plastic pollution in the gyre outweighed zooplankton 6 to 1; now it’s 36 to 1.

What's to be done with the estimated 600 billion pounds of plastic manufactured every year? "Because of the properties of plastic itself, you've got this product defining our age that has no endgame, no take-back infrastructure," Moore says. "It has to become waste. Designing for recycling is a challenge that is simply beyond our economic model."

Moore asks rhetorically, "Am I horrified by these plastic stones? To me it's far more stomach-turning to see the insides of fish and birds who've eaten plastic and died slow gruesome deaths. We’re going in the wrong direction. If we’re not focused on radical change, we haven’t got a chance."

2. MELTING SNAILS

In April, scientists reported that an acidifying Pacific Ocean had corroded and dissolved the shells of sea snails, a critical food source for fish including herring, mackerel and salmon. Chemical processes triggered by acidification were depleting the carbonate ions needed by corals, mussels and oysters to form their shells and skeletons.

Oceans suck up a lot of the carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere; they've absorbed more than 560 billion tons of carbon dioxide since the 1850s, a 50 percent faster increase than any known historical change. The result: ocean acidification, the "other CO2 problem."

In Maine’s Casco Bay, scientists placed juvenile clams in mudflats bathed by an acidifying Atlantic Ocean — the clams promptly disintegrated. In addition to CO2 pollution, nitrogen runoff sourced to sewage plants and over-fertilized lawns also threatens Maine's $60 million shellfish industry. "If I try to talk about climate change and ocean acidification, I lose people," says Casco baykeeper Joe Payne. "I make it very short-term; the next three years. We’re focused on the fertilizer from people’s lawns that comes down the rivers and down the bay. It’s fertilizing microscopic plants in the water; when they die, bacteria breaks them down and takes oxygen out of the water. The byproduct of decomposition is CO2. We’re getting huge coastal acidification. What’s happening to the mud is astounding."

3. SPECIES EXTINCTION

An asteroid caused the Earth’s fifth great species extinction, but humans have launched a sixth that may rival the effects of that deadly event.

Last month, Science reported that animal and plant species are being wiped out at 1,000 times the natural rate. "This is a death rate," explains the study's lead author, Stuart Pimm, professor of conservation at Duke. Examining the fossil record, scientists determined how long it took a species to die out there and compared. "We read the obituary notices of species — if not exactly the newspapers but in the scientific literature," Pimm tells Rolling Stone. "And that tells us that species are dying off at a rate of between 100 and 1,000 extinctions per million species per year." Comparing this as a rate is important. "If somebody comes to me and says 130 extinctions per million species per year, I can name them, I can tell you where they lived and where they died."

Habitat destruction threatens plants and animals around the globe. In The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert writes that human beings have so altered the physical world that species literally cannot survive: "One of the defining features of the Anthropocene is that the world is changing in ways that compel species to move, and another is that it’s changing in ways that create barriers – roads, clear-cuts, cities – that prevent them from doing so."

In Coastal Brazil, where Stuart Pimm works to restore tropical forests, more species are going extinct than anywhere in the Americas. Only patches of forest remain on a landscape that is now highly fragmented.

"We’re being enormously poor stewards," observes Pimm. "The debate about species extinction is we’ve got a few decades to get our act together. Species are going to die, but the question is, 'Can we postpone that event?' We’re not going to get biodiversity back within millions of years. As a global community, are we going to do something about this or are we going to go recklessly headlong into one environmental disaster after another? Yes, this is an emergency. If we don’t do something in the next few decades we will lose. The Sixth Extinction hasn’t happened yet. We’ve done a lot of bad things. But we can stop."

Can we really stop? McKibben says pessimism's a waste of time."'No hope’ is both inaccurate and unhelpful. There's no hope everything is going to be okay, there's plenty of reason to hope we can keep it from getting worse than it has to. Which may mean lots of human lives, and lots of other DNA, make it through to the future."

_________________
"I'll hold your wallet while you go fuck yourself"-David Letterman


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Wed June 25, 2014 10:33 am 
Offline
User avatar
Future Drummer
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 3:24 pm
Posts: 3076
Location: Death Machine Inc's HQ
Biff Pocoroba wrote:
When exactly did it become politically savy to start by stating "I'm not a scientist but" and then go on to disagree with scientific consensus?


John Oliver did a great bit on exactly this last Sunday. It was 2 minutes of pols saying "I'm not a xxxx but I think...".

_________________
the sentinel remains vigilant


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Wed June 25, 2014 3:25 pm 
Offline
User avatar
NEVER STOP JAMMING!
 Profile

Joined: Wed January 02, 2013 1:56 am
Posts: 20149
Stickman wrote:


Mankind is resilient.

The atrocities that horrified us a week ago become acceptable tomorrow.

_________________
(patriotic choking noises)


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Tue September 02, 2014 4:33 am 
Offline
User avatar
what on earth am I talking about
 Profile

Joined: Wed January 02, 2013 12:35 am
Posts: 31950
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... ?CMP=fb_gu


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Tue September 02, 2014 10:21 am 
Offline
User avatar
Future Drummer
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 3:24 pm
Posts: 3076
Location: Death Machine Inc's HQ
dimejinky99 wrote:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse?CMP=fb_gu



What a load of horseshit. Top men are working these problems. Top men!

_________________
the sentinel remains vigilant


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Tue September 02, 2014 4:07 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Technical Overlord
 Profile

Joined: Sat April 13, 2013 8:18 pm
Posts: 6361
Location: earf
They should just dump oxiclean in the ocean. That shit cleans anything.


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Tue September 23, 2014 10:32 am 
Offline
User avatar
Future Drummer
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 3:24 pm
Posts: 3076
Location: Death Machine Inc's HQ
Quote:
http://bravenewclimate.com/2014/08/22/catch-22-of-energy-storage/

The Catch-22 of Energy Storage

Pick up a research paper on battery technology, fuel cells, energy storage technologies or any of the advanced materials science used in these fields, and you will likely find somewhere in the introductory paragraphs a throwaway line about its application to the storage of renewable energy. Energy storage makes sense for enabling a transition away from fossil fuels to more intermittent sources like wind and solar, and the storage problem presents a meaningful challenge for chemists and materials scientists… Or does it?

Guest Post by John Morgan. John is Chief Scientist at a Sydney startup developing smart grid and grid scale energy storage technologies. He is Adjunct Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at RMIT, holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry, and is an experienced industrial R&D leader. You can follow John on twitter at @JohnDPMorgan. First published in Chemistry in Australia.


Several recent analyses of the inputs to our energy systems indicate that, against expectations, energy storage cannot solve the problem of intermittency of wind or solar power. Not for reasons of technical performance, cost, or storage capacity, but for something more intractable: there is not enough surplus energy left over after construction of the generators and the storage system to power our present civilization.

The problem is analysed in an important paper by Weißbach et al.1 in terms of energy returned on energy invested, or EROEI – the ratio of the energy produced over the life of a power plant to the energy that was required to build it. It takes energy to make a power plant – to manufacture its components, mine the fuel, and so on. The power plant needs to make at least this much energy to break even. A break-even powerplant has an EROEI of 1. But such a plant would pointless, as there is no energy surplus to do the useful things we use energy for.

There is a minimum EROEI, greater than 1, that is required for an energy source to be able to run society. An energy system must produce a surplus large enough to sustain things like food production, hospitals, and universities to train the engineers to build the plant, transport, construction, and all the elements of the civilization in which it is embedded.

For countries like the US and Germany, Weißbach et al. estimate this minimum viable EROEI to be about 7. An energy source with lower EROEI cannot sustain a society at those levels of complexity, structured along similar lines. If we are to transform our energy system, in particular to one without climate impacts, we need to pay close attention to the EROEI of the end result.

The EROEI values for various electrical power plants are summarized in the figure. The fossil fuel power sources we’re most accustomed to have a high EROEI of about 30, well above the minimum requirement. Wind power at 16, and concentrating solar power (CSP, or solar thermal power) at 19, are lower, but the energy surplus is still sufficient, in principle, to sustain a developed industrial society. Biomass, and solar photovoltaic (at least in Germany), however, cannot. With an EROEI of only 3.9 and 3.5 respectively, these power sources cannot support with their energy alone both their own fabrication and the societal services we use energy for in a first world country.

Image
Energy Returned on Invested, from Weißbach et al.,1 with and without energy storage (buffering). CCGT is closed-cycle gas turbine. PWR is a Pressurized Water (conventional nuclear) Reactor. Energy sources must exceed the “economic threshold”, of about 7, to yield the surplus energy required to support an OECD level society.

Energy Returned on Invested, from Weißbach et al.,1 with and without energy storage (buffering). CCGT is closed-cycle gas turbine. PWR is a Pressurized Water (conventional nuclear) Reactor. Energy sources must exceed the “economic threshold”, of about 7, to yield the surplus energy required to support an OECD level society.

These EROEI values are for energy directly delivered (the “unbuffered” values in the figure). But things change if we need to store energy. If we were to store energy in, say, batteries, we must invest energy in mining the materials and manufacturing those batteries. So a larger energy investment is required, and the EROEI consequently drops.

Weißbach et al. calculated the EROEIs assuming pumped hydroelectric energy storage. This is the least energy intensive storage technology. The energy input is mostly earthmoving and construction. It’s a conservative basis for the calculation; chemical storage systems requiring large quantities of refined specialty materials would be much more energy intensive. Carbajales-Dale et al.2 cite data asserting batteries are about ten times more energy intensive than pumped hydro storage.

Adding storage greatly reduces the EROEI (the “buffered” values in the figure). Wind “firmed” with storage, with an EROEI of 3.9, joins solar PV and biomass as an unviable energy source. CSP becomes marginal (EROEI ~9) with pumped storage, so is probably not viable with molten salt thermal storage. The EROEI of solar PV with pumped hydro storage drops to 1.6, barely above breakeven, and with battery storage is likely in energy deficit.

This is a rather unsettling conclusion if we are looking to renewable energy for a transition to a low carbon energy system: we cannot use energy storage to overcome the variability of solar and wind power.

In particular, we can’t use batteries or chemical energy storage systems, as they would lead to much worse figures than those presented by Weißbach et al. Hydroelectricity is the only renewable power source that is unambiguously viable. However, hydroelectric capacity is not readily scaled up as it is restricted by suitable geography, a constraint that also applies to pumped hydro storage.

This particular study does not stand alone. Closer to home, Springer have just published a monograph, Energy in Australia,3 which contains an extended discussion of energy systems with a particular focus on EROEI analysis, and draws similar conclusions to Weißbach. Another study by a group at Stanford2 is more optimistic, ruling out storage for most forms of solar, but suggesting it is viable for wind. However, this viability is judged only on achieving an energy surplus (EROEI>1), not sustaining society (EROEI~7), and excludes the round trip energy losses in storage, finite cycle life, and the energetic cost of replacement of storage. Were these included, wind would certainly fall below the sustainability threshold.

Image

It’s important to understand the nature of this EROEI limit. This is not a question of inadequate storage capacity – we can’t just buy or make more storage to make it work. It’s not a question of energy losses during charge and discharge, or the number of cycles a battery can deliver. We can’t look to new materials or technological advances, because the limits at the leading edge are those of earthmoving and civil engineering. The problem can’t be addressed through market support mechanisms, carbon pricing, or cost reductions. This is a fundamental energetic limit that will likely only shift if we find less materially intensive methods for dam construction.

This is not to say wind and solar have no role to play. They can expand within a fossil fuel system, reducing overall emissions. But without storage the amount we can integrate in the grid is greatly limited by the stochastically variable output. We could, perhaps, build out a generation of solar and wind and storage at high penetration. But we would be doing so on an endowment of fossil fuel net energy, which is not sustainable. Without storage, we could smooth out variability by building redundant generator capacity over large distances. But the additional infrastructure also forces the EROEI down to unviable levels. The best way to think about wind and solar is that they can reduce the emissions of fossil fuels, but they cannot eliminate them. They offer mitigation, but not replacement.

Nor is this to say there is no value in energy storage. Battery systems in electric vehicles clearly offer potential to reduce dependency on, and emissions from, oil (provided the energy is sourced from clean power). Rooftop solar power combined with four hours of battery storage can usefully timeshift peak electricity demand,3 reducing the need for peaking power plants and grid expansion. And battery technology advances make possible many of our recently indispensable consumer electronics. But what storage can’t do is enable significant replacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy.

If we want to cut emissions and replace fossil fuels, it can be done, and the solution is to be found in the upper right of the figure. France and Ontario, two modern, advanced societies, have all but eliminated fossil fuels from their electricity grids, which they have built from the high EROEI sources of hydroelectricity and nuclear power. Ontario in particular recently burnt its last tonne of coal, and each jurisdiction uses just a few percent of gas fired power. This is a proven path to a decarbonized electricity grid.

But the idea that advances in energy storage will enable renewable energy is a chimera – the Catch-22 is that in overcoming intermittency by adding storage, the net energy is reduced below the level required to sustain our present civilization.

_________________
the sentinel remains vigilant


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Mon November 10, 2014 11:07 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Misplaced My Sponge
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 10:41 am
Posts: 5659
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada

_________________
"I'll hold your wallet while you go fuck yourself"-David Letterman


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Fri March 13, 2015 11:56 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Misplaced My Sponge
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 10:41 am
Posts: 5659
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
NASA chief schools Ted Cruz for trying to downplay global warming research

_________________
"I'll hold your wallet while you go fuck yourself"-David Letterman


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Tue March 31, 2015 9:17 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Misplaced My Sponge
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 10:41 am
Posts: 5659
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
Yeah, why isn't there a bigger panic in Cali?

_________________
"I'll hold your wallet while you go fuck yourself"-David Letterman


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Wed April 01, 2015 10:08 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Site Admin
 Profile

Joined: Wed December 12, 2012 10:33 pm
Posts: 6494
I found the water restrictions Jerry Brown announced to be laughable when I didn't hear anything about agriculture, which is what is using up the lion's share of the the water.


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Thu April 02, 2015 12:47 am 
Offline
User avatar
The Master
 Profile

Joined: Tue January 01, 2013 2:04 pm
Posts: 56255
Location: Sector 7-G
Pound foolish, penny wise.


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Wed April 08, 2015 5:15 am 
Offline
Future Drummer
 Profile

Joined: Wed January 02, 2013 3:41 am
Posts: 2165
Green Habit wrote:
I found the water restrictions Jerry Brown announced to be laughable when I didn't hear anything about agriculture, which is what is using up the lion's share of the the water.


Should California starve the farmers to feed the vast, otherwise uninhabitable desert of greater Los Angeles? Plenty of farmers were already screwed over, and I'm not sure it's fair to fudge with the water rights. Let municipal rates rise to levels sufficiently high that the farmers will sell the cities their water.

Alfalfa, cotton, rice and other seasonal high water use crops can have the water diverted for the season in exchange for reasonable compensation, but others don't have that flexibility. Orchards cannot due to the length of time for tree maturity. Let those farmers already invested in the long term save their crops and induce the others to transfer their water. Keep in mind of course, that compared to the Midwest, California gets very little in farm subsidies. If California did receive subsidies on the level of Iowa we probably wouldn't be complaining about the low percentage of GDP that CA crops account for.


Top
 
 Post subject: Re: The Environment Thread
PostPosted: Wed April 08, 2015 1:51 pm 
Offline
User avatar
Site Admin
 Profile

Joined: Wed December 12, 2012 10:33 pm
Posts: 6494
simple schoolboy wrote:
Green Habit wrote:
I found the water restrictions Jerry Brown announced to be laughable when I didn't hear anything about agriculture, which is what is using up the lion's share of the the water.
Should California starve the farmers to feed the vast, otherwise uninhabitable desert of greater Los Angeles? Plenty of farmers were already screwed over, and I'm not sure it's fair to fudge with the water rights. Let municipal rates rise to levels sufficiently high that the farmers will sell the cities their water.

Alfalfa, cotton, rice and other seasonal high water use crops can have the water diverted for the season in exchange for reasonable compensation, but others don't have that flexibility. Orchards cannot due to the length of time for tree maturity. Let those farmers already invested in the long term save their crops and induce the others to transfer their water. Keep in mind of course, that compared to the Midwest, California gets very little in farm subsidies. If California did receive subsidies on the level of Iowa we probably wouldn't be complaining about the low percentage of GDP that CA crops account for.
I don't think we're in that much disagreement, and I think the proposals you suggest in your second paragraph are sensible. The one important caveat is that while agriculture is obviously better for the human race than watering lawns or washing cars, Mother Nature doesn't really discriminate when a drought hits. There may be no choice but for agriculture to cut back if this keeps up.


Top
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 388 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 20  Next

Board index » Word on the Street » News & Debate


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: 96583UP and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
It is currently Sun September 27, 2020 2:02 am