June 2, 2011
Salon: 'Everything you've heard about fossil fuels may be wrong'Topics: Environment, Fuel Technology, Global Warming, Oil, Political News and commentaries
One doesn't expect to see an article in Salon pointing out that fossil fuels may be practically inexhaustible and therefore there's no compelling reason to pursue alternative energy, nonetheless that's exactly what Michael Lind's piece does ... and it's got the Lefty moonbat commenters going nuts over it (hat tip - Ace, who suggests it must have been hacked).
Lind writes that the future of energy is not what you think it is and it appears that the prophets of an age of renewable energy following Peak Oil got things backwards - instead we may be living in the era of Peak Renewables, which will be followed by a very long Age of Fossil Fuels that has only just begun:
[...] Two arguments for switching to renewable energy -- the depletion of fossil fuels and national security -- are no longer plausible. What about the claim that a rapid transition to wind and solar energy is necessary, to avert catastrophic global warming?Read the whole piece, then for entertainment ... be sure to checkout the Lefty moonbat's comments.
The scenarios with the most catastrophic outcomes of global warming are low probability outcomes -- a fact that explains why the world's governments in practice treat reducing CO2 emissions as a low priority, despite paying lip service to it. But even if the worst outcomes were likely, the rational response would not be a conversion to wind and solar power but a massive build-out of nuclear power.
[...] The arguments for converting the U.S. economy to wind, solar and biomass energy have collapsed. The date of depletion of fossil fuels has been pushed back into the future by centuries -- or millennia. The abundance and geographic diversity of fossil fuels made possible by technology in time will reduce the dependence of the U.S. on particular foreign energy exporters, eliminating the national security argument for renewable energy. And if the worst-case scenarios for climate change were plausible, then the most effective way to avert catastrophic global warming would be the rapid expansion of nuclear power, not over-complicated schemes worthy of Rube Goldberg or Wile E. Coyote to carpet the world's deserts and prairies with solar panels and wind farms that would provide only intermittent energy from weak and diffuse sources.
The mainstream environmental lobby has yet to acknowledge the challenge that the new energy realities pose to their assumptions about the future. Some environmentalists have welcomed natural gas because it is cleaner than coal and can supplement intermittent solar power and wind power, at times when the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing. But if natural gas is permanently cheaper than solar and wind, then there is no reason, other than ideology, to combine it with renewables, instead of simply using natural gas to replace coal in electricity generation.
Without massive, permanent government subsidies or equally massive penalty taxes imposed on inexpensive fossil fuels like shale gas, wind power and solar power may never be able to compete. For that reason, some Greens hope to shut down shale gas and gas hydrate production in advance. In their haste, however, many Greens have hyped studies that turned out to be erroneous.
Posted by Hyscience at June 2, 2011 5:38 PM
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