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Old 11-29-2009, 03:09 AM
Quath Quath is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 504

Originally Posted by River View Post
Careful study reveals that alternatives (including and beyond renewables) of various kinds will almost certainly take, at least, decades before going fully "on line".
I think a lot of the alternatives don't become attractive until gas is over $4 a gallon. Luckily people are starting to get use to the idea that gas is going up and slowly changing their lifestyles (less SUVs and living closer to work). If gas keeps rising, new plants will open up once they become economical. But they need to feel certain that gas will stay high before companies invest in these alternatives. This will also push the market to go more for battery powered cars (but they still have a ways to goin R&D).

Nuclear is a bad idea for myriad reasons which shouldn't need spelling out: insurance companies won't touch it, governments would have to "insure"; no safe and effective waste-disposal solutions; uranium availability limits when in high global demand... on and on and on....
I have to disagree with this point. The problems with nuclear power are the result of misinformation and politics. They government needs to work out a policy to protect electricity companies from endless lawsuits. They also need to work on carbon emission taxes to push for cleaner fuels.

I am against our current implementation of nuclear power where we use a tiny fraction (1%) of the fuel and encase the rest in glass for long term storage. We should be using breeder reactors which can in theory burn all the fuel. We currently have about 230 years of uranium fuel at the current burn rate. With breeders, we can extend that to 30,000 years. Or if we don't, we can use salt water extraction for 60,000 years. The problem with breeders is they produce plutonium as they generate fuel. We have to protect the plutonium because it is chemically easier to use to make bombs than enriching uranium.

We're at peak net energy -- never again will we have the quantity and quality of energy we've had for the last hundred years. Capitalist industrialism will and must gradually put itself out of business -- and that leaves one available option, a return to much higher levels of LPLC (local production for local use) and a more or less agrarian way of life for future humans.
Local production is sometimes not the best solution. It may take more energy to grow locally than it would be to grow in another country and ship across the seas. For efficiency sake, local producetions evolve into a warehouse model over time, which is what we currently have in a global market.

It will have to be a lifeway in which the baubles of consumerism are few -- but it may be a very good quality of life, nevertheless. Gardening, after all, can be fun -- as is riding a bicycle.
I agree that we will probably have to cut back on what we consume today. A lot of the wealth in the US comes from cheap labor in other countries. However, buying the cheap labor makes them more prosperious until they are no longer cheap labor. I think this is good, but it also means that productivity growth may not stay at the same level (about 1 to 2.2% based on different definitions).
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