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Sun May 31, 2020, 02:09 PM

New Weekly Record Set at the Mauna Loa Observatory for CO2 Concentrations 417.43 ppm.

Last edited Sun May 31, 2020, 04:32 PM - Edit history (1)

As I've indicated several times over the last two months as new records have been set for the concentrations the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide, I somewhat obsessively keep a spreadsheet of the weekly data at the Mauna Loa Carbon Dioxide Observatory, which I use to do calculations to record the dying of our atmosphere, a triumph of fear, dogma and ignorance that did not have to be, but nonetheless is.

This week's reading is the first in the history of weekly average readings, going back, to 1975 posted by the Mauna Loa to exceed 417 ppm.

I will comment below on some remarks describing this state of affairs as "winning," where the word is used in the delusional Trumpian sense that "winning," is described, although I won't be quoting the orange ignoramus himself, but point to some rhetoric used by a person nominally on the left quite willing to ignore reality.

To appreciate and respect data is to appreciate science, and to deny data while claiming to respect science is, well, let's be frank, is to lie.

The data from the Mauna Loa Carbon Dioxide Observatory:

Up-to-date weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa

Week beginning on May 24, 2020: 417.43 ppm
Weekly value from 1 year ago: 414.40 ppm
Weekly value from 10 years ago: 392.63 ppm
Last updated: May 31, 2020

The increase in carbon dioxide concentrations when compared to the same week in 2019 is 3.03 ppm. The week to week comparisons between 2020 and 2019 are averaging this year 2.56 ppm. This same average in 2019, as compared to 2018, was 2.90 ppm.

In my spreadsheet, I keep records of the increases over 10 year periods, in this case, a comparison of the reading this past week, with the last week of May in 2010. Using Excel functions, I can sort them by values high to low and do a lot of other things

In the week of January 1, 2000, the running 12 month average of comparisons of changes with respect to the same week ten years earlier, was 15.19 ppm higher than the figure ten years previous. In 2020, the same twelve month running average is 24.07 ppm over figures 10 years earlier.

One can see, even if one's mathematical is as low as say, a typical member of Greenpeace, that the difference between this week and the same week ten years ago, is 24.80 ppm. The weekly Mauna Loa data goes back to May of 1975. Thus the comparisons between the figures in a particular week with that of the figure ten years earlier begin in 1985. There are 1,875 such comparisons as of this writing. The figure for this week, again 24.80 ppm, is the 12th highest ever recorded. Of the top 20 such readings, 2 were recorded in 2018, 11 were recorded in 2019, and 7 were recorded this year, with this year approaching half over.

If any of this troubles you, don't worry, be happy. Head on over to Daily Kos, where you can read all about how wonderful so called "renewable energy" is "winning."

Renewable Monday: More Proof that We are Winning Comes Every Day


Years ago, when I was writing at Daily Kos, before I was banned there for telling the truth, I accepted the notion that the goal of so called "renewable energy" was to address climate change; and in fact, I was so poorly educated with respect to the details of so called "renewable energy" that I believed that this scheme could help to address climate change.

The climate is not the only thing that's changing, and let's be clear, it most assuredly is changing. I am an old man, but unlike many old men of my appalling generation, I can change my mind.

You will not find as strong a critic of so called "renewable energy," as you will find in me, but not because I think fossil fuels are even remotely acceptable, but because I, unlike my generation overall, care about the future, even though I will die soon enough. I want fossil fuels to be banned and my criticism of so called "renewable energy" is that it is experimentally been determined to be incapable of addressing climate change.

So if we're talking about so called "renewable energy" "winning," one might ask what it is that has been won.

I don't know why anyone else is a political liberal, but from time to time, I remind myself in writing here and elsewhere of why I am a political liberal, because of a document largely written by the woman who I regard as the greatest Democrat of the 20th century, Eleanor Roosevelt. That document is, of course, is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, approved by the UN in 1948 but regrettably more honored in breach than in practice. In particular, I strongly support article 25, section 1:

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

It is of some note that the environment is not mentioned in the Declaration, but in 1948, perhaps it was not as much of an issue as it is today. However, truth be told, there was an environmental movement then, if obscure. The Sierra Club was founded by John Muir 1892 and as the last environmental battle in his life was to protect the Hetch Hetchy valley in Yosemite National Park from being converted into an industrial facility. He lost the battle. The Hetch Hetchy dam was built, the and valley lost.

The dam is still there, and it provides so called "renewable energy."

Today, of course, if you were to go to a Sierra Club meeting, and opposed the conversion of wilderness into industrial parks - here I'm referring - to wind farms and solar farms, you'd only get ignored or screamed at or both.

Go figure.

Speaking of figures, I looked at the profile of the person who declared, confidently, that so called "renewable energy" is winning, and to my surprise, I saw that he has a bachelor's degree in math, of all things.

Nevertheless, he seems to be pretty bad with numbers. This is unsurprising to me really, since I've spent my life around people with STEM degrees, advanced and otherwise. The range of competence varies. I once had a redneck colleague with a degree in Chemical Engineering from Rice University - a good school by the way - along with an MBA from the same institution and I had to explain to this right wing asshole what an ethyl group was.

I kid you not.

Here's some other remarks, which can be found here about our hero, the math major, who writes about how so called "renewable energy is "winning":

Nuclear: No. Just no. It costs multiples what renewables do, if it can get built at all, years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.

Carbon Capture: A lie, plain and simple, at best.

Energy from carbon capture during natural gas production? What are they even talking about?

Hydrogen: OK. No, wait. Hydrogen from using excess renewable electricity to crack water, yes; hydrogen from coal gasification—Where's my pitchfork?

Let's talk about "years behind schedule."

Someone - I can't remember who regrettably - made a joke about Donald Trump that went like this: "Donald Trump accuses other people of the things he openly does that I expect to find out that he was born in Kenya."

Let's address this incredible statement about "years behind schedule," but let's not talk about billions of dollars, but rather trillions of dollars.

First, let's talk about the "schedule." So called "renewable energy" advocates endlessly, without stop, post "by such and such" a date statements wherein so called "renewable energy" will provide x, y or z "percent" of the world's energy supply. I've been hearing this crap since my early 20's (when I actually believed it) and I am now an old man reaching the end of his life.

Here is one of the earliest examples of "by such and such" a date written by the anti-nuke self declared "scientist" (move over Mary Baker Eddy) Amory Lovins in 1976:

And, at the further end of the spectrum, projections for 2000 being considered by the "Demand Panel" of a major U.S. National Research Council study, as of mid-1976, ranged as low as about 54 quads of fuels (plus 16 of solar energy).

It can be found here: ENERGY STRATEGY: THE ROAD NOT TAKEN? (Lovins, Foreign Affairs, pp 65-96, 1976, quotation from page 76.)

A "Quad" (Quadrillion BTU) is equal to (in SI units) 1.055 ExaJoules (EJ), so Mr. Lovins was citing a projection of approximately 17 exajoules in the United States. Elsewhere he notes that the world is going to run out of fossil fuels in the 1980s. (That, of course would have been a good thing.)

I frequently post a spreadsheet I've prepared from the data provided by the international Energy Agency's annual World Energy Outlook: I have PDF's in my files going back to 1995, although, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999 are missing.

Here is what I post again and again:

IEA 2017 World Energy Outlook, Table 2.2 page 79 (I have converted MTOE in the original table to the SI unit exajoules in this text.)’’

In this century, world energy demand grew by 179.15 exajoules to 599.34 exajoules.

In this century, world gas demand grew by 50.33 exajoules to 137.03 exajoules.

In this century, the use of petroleum grew by 34.79 exajoules to 188.45 exajoules.

In this century, the use of coal grew by 63.22 exajoules to 159.98 exajoules.

In this century, the solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal energy on which people so cheerfully have bet the entire planetary atmosphere, stealing the future from all future generations, grew by 9.76 exajoules to 12.27 exajoules.

12.27 exajoules is slightly over 2% of the world energy demand.

2019 Edition of the World Energy Outlook Table 1.1 Page 38] (I have converted MTOE in the original table to the SI unit exajoules in this text.)

Here is a table of sources of energy taken from the International Energy Agency’s 2017, 2018, and 2019 Editions of the World Energy Outlook:

On the whole planet, solar and wind combined, do not provide 17 exajoules of energy, never mind 16 in the United States "by 2000."

Let's talk about the cost of making "winning" with the 12.27 exajoules produced by so called "renewable energy."

The figures are not "billions" but "trillions." To wit:

The amount of money "invested" in so called "renewable energy" in the period between 2004 and 2018 is over 3.036 trillion dollars; dominated by solar and wind which soaked up 2.774 trillion dollars.

Source: UNEP/Bloomberg Global Investment in Renewable Energy, 2019 These figures were obtained from figure 21, on page 33, which is in table format. I manually transcribed the numbers therein to a spreadsheet.

The abysmally stupid claim that nuclear energy can be built only slowly ignores the fact - facts matter, or as my tee shirt from the AAAS says "facts are facts - has consistently been producing over 28 exajoules of primary since 1990, utilizing technology developed in the 1950's and 1960's. The United States built over 100 nuclear reactors in the period essentially between 1960 and 1985, the bulk of which still operate, this while providing the lowest electricity prices in the world.

But of course, there are people with degrees in Mathematics, of all things, who insist that what has already happened is impossible.

Of course, notes by anti-nukes like Mr. Lovins and our "Math guy" that nuclear energy has not grown significantly since 2000 - it hasn't, to repeat an analogy I use often - is rather like arsonists complaining about fires. The Western world has apparently bought into the crackpot idea that nuclear energy is "too expensive," "too dangerous," blah, blah.

Go figure.

The result of the trillions spent on so called "renewable energy" has been nil. It has not addressed climate change, is not addressing climate change and will not address climate change.

But it's "winning."

Let's look at another claim from the excerpt, this one:

Carbon Capture: A lie, plain and simple, at best.

As is typical of dogmatic beliefs, the assertion is made without reference, and is presented by our Math guy in an oracular fashion.

To be clear, I oppose carbon capture for use in dangerous fossil fuel plants, the kind of plants we must phase out as rapidly as possible under any and all circumstances. This said, I have frequently written here - with references to the primary scientific literature in which I spend most of my free time - about direct air capture of carbon dioxide as well as carbon capture from biomass streams. In this literature two scenarios are mentioned, CCS - carbon capture and "storage" (dumps) - and CCU - carbon capture and use. The latter is the only one that will work, since it will introduce an economic rationale for doing it.

Let me say this: My hero the "Math Guy" is among those who was willing to bet the entire planetary atmosphere on so called "renewable energy" - apparently without pausing to think about why so called "renewable energy" was abandoned in the 19th century, when the world population was a small fraction of what it is today. I would argue, if one considers this point, one should regard enthusiasm for so called "renewable energy" as reactionary rather than progressive, although I'm quite sure our "Math guy" regards himself as a progressive despite clearly - to my mind at least - being a reactionary.

The goals set forth Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will never be realized by embracing reactionaries.

I have been studying the chemistry of carbon dioxide for many decades. I do not believe for a New York minute that it is easy or cheap to capture, but the fact that carbon dioxide has been allowed to hit 417.43 ppm while assholes sat on their asses waiting for so called "renewable energy" to save the day, means that the responsibility for doing something that works to capture carbon from the atmosphere has been dumped on all future generations, as an expression of our bourgeois contempt for them.

By the way, I agree with our Math Guy about not trying to capture carbon from dangerous natural gas. However, it appears that our Math guy is unfamiliar with the fact that industrially, almost all of the world's hydrogen is currently made from dangerous natural gas, and yet, and yet, he has a paean to hydrogen:

Hydrogen: OK. No, wait. Hydrogen from using excess renewable electricity to crack water, yes; hydrogen from coal gasification—Where's my pitchfork?

Let's be clear on something, OK, because this hydrogen hydra has been rearing it's ugly head for many decades. Hydrogen is stored energy. If one studies mathematics, one might - I would argue "should be" - be exposed to the differential equations connected with thermodynamics. Storing energy wastes energy. Hydrogen, whether produced by electrolysis or from chemical processes, is stored energy. As for "excess 'renewable energy'" it doesn't exist. If it did exist, all of these people praising it while more than a hundred of millions of people have died from air pollution in this century while they prattle on about how nuclear energy is "dangerous" would be able to point to at least 600 exajoules of so called "renewable energy."

They can't, and they never will. We do not have energy waste on hydrogen pipe dreams that represent profound ignorance.

So what about this winning? Our math guy simultaneously objects to coal to hydrogen while saying nothing or knowing a damned thing about coal to steel. Steel is made using coke which is made by heating coal with fires that burn coal. That includes the steel requirements that would be involved in making this junk habitat destroying wind industry grow to a power level of 20 exajoules per year as opposed to the roughly ten exajoules per year at which it currently functions, this after half a century of cheering.

Maybe it's the steel industry that's doing all this winning with wind turbines that will be landfill in 25 years, and will need to be cleaned up by the same future generations we've charged with cleaning up our carbon dioxide dumping.

Let me be done with this.

My impression that I've been hearing all about how rapidly renewable energy has been growing since I began writing here in 2002, when the reading on April 14, 2002 was 375.14 ppm should not disturb you, since it is better to think everything is fine rather than focus on reality.

I have advised the reader to not worry and to be happy.

Clearly, I cannot do that. I am worried and I'm not happy. Clearly I am angry. If you think I enjoy writing these posts, week after week every April and May, year after year after year, you know zero about me.

To me, the growth of carbon dioxide concentrations to levels above 417 ppm is a crime against humanity, and a crime against all future generations, and a crime against the earth.

When I was writing at Daily Kos, before being banned for telling the truth, they used to bend over backwards saying how they loved science and scientists, one of the most beloved scientists back in those days, being the climate scientist Jim Hansen.

Then Jim Hansen wrote a very famous and highly cited and regarded paper saying that nuclear energy saves lives, and that nuclear is an essential tool for fighting climate change. Suddenly, he became persona non grata at Daily Kos. I was banned in the act of citing him.

The paper is here: Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power (Pushker A. Kharecha* and James E. Hansen Environ. Sci. Technol., 2013, 47 (9), pp 4889–4895)

Oh, and about that claim that so called "renewable energy" is cheap. Here from the IEA's 2019 Electricity Information Statistics

Denmark and Germany have the highest electricity prices in the world. You know what kind of people have the most trouble with high prices for electricity? Poor people. I guess it's "cool" to screw them and to screw the 25th article of the Declaration of Human Rights.

The fact that heavy reliance of so called "cheap renewable energy" can be detailed with a careful analysis, but that's for another time.

We on the left will not win anything unless we abandon our dogmas, and think anew.

History will not forgive us, nor should it.

I trust you'll have a pleasant Sunday evening. Be safe. Be well.

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Reply New Weekly Record Set at the Mauna Loa Observatory for CO2 Concentrations 417.43 ppm. (Original post)
NNadir May 2020 OP
Warpy Jun 2020 #1
NNadir Jun 2020 #2
Warpy Jun 2020 #3
NNadir Jun 2020 #4
Warpy Jun 2020 #5
NNadir Jun 2020 #6

Response to NNadir (Original post)

Mon Jun 1, 2020, 01:40 PM

1. The steady increase in C02 at Mauna Loa

even after a 2 month hiatus by one of the bigger producers--cars--is troubling. Since Mauna Loa is still part of the active Hawaiian system and has been showing other signs of activity, one wonders if some of it is being generated under their feet instead of by the planet's industry.

Renewable energy will likely be a part of future energy production since the solar end, at least, will run cheaply for many years after the initial energy cost of producing the equipment, making it far cheaper in the long run over building new coal fired generating stations. Are we ready to convert entirely? Of course not.

Also, as you pointed out, as long as we use steel, we will use coal. It's never going away entirely.

However, seeing free hydrogen as stored energy and therefore a flawed "clean" energy source somewhat misleading. MIT had a pilot project, a closed system in which solar power was used during the day to generate household energy with enough extra power to perform electrolysis. At night, the system swapped over to a fuel cell generator that used the resulting hydrogen and oxygen. This was well over 20 years ago, maybe 30. While no one wants a big garden shed sized fuel cell in the backyard plus a house covered in solar panels, I have to wonder why the system wasn't scaled up as another project.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 1, 2020, 05:36 PM

2. Ten or so years ago, there was a big hoopla about the wind to hydrogen...

...program on the Norwegian Island of Utsira.

People went ape-shit here and elsewhere with all kinds of "we're saved" rhetoric.

As usual, I was a dissident.

The amount of electricity generated to power websites telling us how great the wind to hydrogen scheme was on the internet, fastly exceeded, I'm sure, the energy demand of the ten houses on the Island.

Of course, the problem was, um, that the system didn't work very well, and so, it was reduced to "lessons learned" papers.

If you go to Google Scholar and type Utsira wind to hydrogen, you will get 954 hits. If you put "wind to hydrogen" in quotation marks, you will still get 54 hits. For ten fucking houses!

I correctly predicted that the world would not be saved because the Utsira project was so great. By the time it came around with the usual cheering, I was already growing toward a jaundiced view of "wind will save us" rhetoric, and was in the process of changing from a proponent of so called "renewable energy" to an opponent of it.

MIT of course is a great school with highly qualified and highly educated scientists, graduate students, post docs and professors and undergraduates. Maybe they looked at the data 30 years ago and said, "my it's cute, but it's not really workable on scale."

It's 2020. I'm an old man. If I live ten more years, I think it would be remarkable. I certainly don't expect that I will. I am leaving a world that is totally destroyed because of the accumulation of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide. For my entire adult life, I've been hearing about so called "renewable energy" to hydrogen schemes. When I was a stupid little kid, I used to regale people with what a great idea it would be.

We are at 417 ppm of carbon dioxide. While we have been spending trillions of dollars on solar and wind, well over three trillion since the turn of the century, the data shows that the rate of destruction of the atmosphere is accelerating not decelerating.

I believe that hydrogen might be a useful captive intermediate - a role it already plays in many industries - for replacing petroleum and dangerous natural gas, but not if we try to make it by electrolysis. Here's clue: The world's demand for electricity is just a fraction of the overall energy demand, world energy demand being just about 600 exajoules as of 2018.

I hate to preview a rather large post on which I've been working - I write these not because anyone believes me, but to teach myself what is real and what is not, and perhaps convince my son to carry these ideas into the future - but I will tell you why Germany and Denmark have the highest electricity rates in the world, and why Denmark continues to invest heavily in offshore oil and gas wells that help supply Germany:

If you need two systems to do what one will do; neither system will be able to operate at anything like full capacity. Therefore the stranded costs of each will inflate the overall cost of both. The assholes carrying on about how "wind is cheaper than nuclear" and how "solar prices are falling" are discussing, with typical selective attention, what the price of wind energy is when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, while ignoring the effects of the the cost of electricity when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining. It's widely reported however, that in a 24 hour period, a portion of it will involve darkness, and sometimes the wind isn't blowing.

Charles Forsberg, at MIT, has written brilliantly about this, although he is far less hostile to so called "renewable energy" than I am.

The problem with solar and wind is their extremely low energy to mass ratio. Adding an electrolytic cell, storage tanks, pipelines, fuel cells reducing that low energy to mass ratio to clearly even more unsustainable levels. Moreover, the life time of these devices is roughly 20 years which means that every generation will have to replace 100% of this crap every two decades, this when the world's best ores have been depleted.

I have studied many thousands of papers, I'm sure, on the subject of making hydrogen over the last 30 years. There is one, and only one, way to make hydrogen cleanly. That is by thermochemical water or carbon dioxide splitting, the latter depending on the water gas reaction to make hydrogen. The beautiful thing about thermochemical processes is that they allow for process intensification, operate at very high temperatures, and thus can raise the efficiency of the overall system to very high levels, perhaps in the 70% range.

Guess what? Wind turbines can't do that, and every single damned solar thermal plant on this planet has proved disastrous economically and ultimately dependent on dangerous natural gas, not that people don't stop writing "what if" papers about them.

People have been cheering for solar and wind for half a century. Trillions have been squandered on this pop affectation, this on a planet where two billion people lack even primitive sanitation systems.

Are we there yet?

Solar is not clean. It is not sustainable. And it has not worked to address climate change. The evidence is in. What is the evidence? The evidence is that the carbon dioxide levels are almost 417 ppm this year after decades of prattling about solar, going all the way back to 1958.

Here is a paper from that anti-nuke idiot Benjamin Sovacool, which he calls a "technical note" even though his technical knowledge seems to be fairly close to zero given the drivel he writes: Island wind-hydrogen energy: A significant potential US resource (Sovacool and Hirsh: Renewable Energy Volume 33, Issue 8, August 2008, Pages 1928-1935)

On the week beginning August 31, 2008, the concentration of carbon dioxide measured at Mauna Loa was 383.46 ppm. Less than 12 years later, it's 417.43 ppm.

Between six and seven million people die from air pollution each year. This means that at the lower limit, 72 million people have lost their lives, and 84 million people at the upper limit since Sovacool published his paper twelve years ago, between papers about how dangerous nuclear energy is. Kinda Trumpian, isn't it?

Those tens of millions of lives might have been saved if we shoved the bullshit of people like Sovacool in the waste basket.

When, exactly, do stop having pipe dreams about hydrogen pipes and wake up and recognize our responsibility to humanity, to the future generations that my generation so hopelessly screwed because we couldn't comprehend simple numbers.

I'm am sure that I will die before people like me will be relieved from debunking this wishful thinking.

The planet might not live much longer than I will.

I feel like it is the times of the medieval bubonic plague, where people kept thinking prayer was the answer, that reality is merely a matter of will, God's or man's.

You cannot produce a sustainable and just world with all the copper in the world to pipe solar energy to electrolysers for the four hours a day it might be producing excess electricity.

It has been a crime against humanity that people still insist that this is a good idea when there is so much experimental evidence that it isn't. Meanwhile, there are billions of people who have no electricity, while we prattle on about a nirvana that never comes. Is that just?

The anti-nuke "solar and wind will save us" rhetoric on the left is our creationism. It hasn't worked; it isn't working; and it won't work.

Sorry, but that's a fact. Facts matter.

We can laugh at Republicans who argue loudly that the world was created in seven days, but if we keep on this course, we may destroy the world in seven decades in this century, having spent the last two decades throwing trillions at so called "renewable energy."

The rate of increase, the first derivative, of carbon dioxide increases has now reached 2.4 ppm/year. In 2010 it was roughly 1.9 ppm/year, implying that the second derivative is 0.25 ppm/year/year. Even if the second derivative was zero, in 50 years we'll be at 537 ppm. Whattaya think? Will people still be talking about solar hydrogen then?

History will not forgive us, nor should it.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #2)

Tue Jun 2, 2020, 12:14 AM

3. They most likely did find it wasn't scalable

at the solar power level, although fuel cells get more efficient the larger they are and while their closed system was OK for one household in the burbs, it wouldn't work at an urban scale. The real point is that we are surrounded by energy that is harvestable and that could be used for electrolysis. We're simply in no position to do it yet and will likely never be there at an urban scale. Start looking at powering tower blocks with renewables and the problems pop up pretty quickly.

The problem is that the systems of the future will be messy and fragmented, more so than they are now, especially if we don't want to cook the planet enough that we have to figure out how to breathe methane.

I'm not quite as pessimistic as you are, the planet will survive us. Remember, Canada has been tropical rain forest in the past, as were the Great Plains, hippos in Nebraska and all that. I think we will likely survive, although certainly not 7 billiion of us at once, and we will be different, we will have to be.

Then again, Campi Flegrei might blow up and save our collective bacon as far as warming goes. We just don't know. What is clear is that we are a product of nature just as much as the blue green algae that froze the planet solid some 650 million years ago.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #3)

Tue Jun 2, 2020, 07:17 AM

4. Fuel cells, are of course, commercial today. The most widely used ones contain Nalfion.

Nalfion is a fluoropolymer. I was recently discussing the degradation pathways of Nalfion with my son. It's not pretty.

There are thousands of papers written on the topic of ion transport polymers for fuel cells, but after decades of research, Nalfion is still in production.

There are still thousands of papers written every year on the ORR (Oxygen Reduction Reaction) and the 4 electron transfer required, because fuel cells perform sluggishly and platinum is expensive and is also an endangered element. To my knowledge, the ORR is still problematic.

I have written here extensively on the severe and worsening issue of persistent fluoropolymers that is now being observed worldwide. It is yet another crisis brought on by indifference and selective attention.

With all due respect, here's how I take your comments:

We can pile the world higher and higher and higher with fluoropolymers, and other difficult materials, let Canada become a tropical rainforest even if all of central Africa, Central America, Central Asia become flaming deserts just so long as we can guarantee that their won't be a tuna fish with a few atoms of cesium-137 swimming in the Pacific ocean because of leaks at a nuclear power plant.

It never ceases to amaze me that people who consider themselves "environmentalists" will tear up every pristine wilderness, let people die in trichlorosilane explosions with only obscure commentary, for a trivial amount of energy mine the shit out of the planet, let the accumulation rise faster and faster and faster rather than accept the fact that nuclear energy is the safest and most reliable energy system ever developed by humanity.

Will all Indians and all Southern Chinese, Indonesians, Vietnamese and Central Africans be granted environmental refugee status in the new tropical Canada?

Do you know why so many ersatz "environmentalists" object to nuclear power? The reason is that it will make all of the solar energy dithering and all of the wind power dithering unnecessary.

Like Trump, they can never accept that they were wrong - dead wrong, and people are dying from this bizarre insistence - and will let enormous tragedy take place to prevent exposure of their dogma make them look like fools. Nevertheless, like Trump, they are fools.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #4)

Tue Jun 2, 2020, 11:41 AM

5. You've misread me

because I know the planet will survive all this. That doesn't mean we will. In fact, the more plastic that enters the food chain, the more our own fate is sealed, along with that of most other animal life. Forget those 3 meals a day, we'll struggle to get enough nutrition to survive the night if we eat all day, every day, providing there is something to eat that won't kill us outright.

Nuclear power isn't the be all and end all, not even if they solve the fusion conundrum. For one thing, it requires water, a lot of it, and much of the world's population lives where water is in short supply. In addition, the objection to it is more empirical than you think. The potential for disaster had been known for a long time and now we have two major laboratories in which to study it: Chernobyl and Fukushima. People aren't objecting to it to save their windmills. They're objecting to the very real damage that is caused when nature sides with the hidden flaws, and there will always be hidden flaws.

Years from now, there will be environmental refugees. Will suburbanites give up their burgers in order to feed everyone on corn and soybeans? I sincerely doubt it. We can all be generous to people one at a time, but given a seething mass of starving humanity, we lose sight of individual suffering and see only the threat they pose. Humanity in general has a short attention span and a general predilection toward historical amnesia. We're reactive, not proactive, and reactions will generally be wrong.

See: Bronze Age collapse. There were multiple stable civilizations, fertile agricultural areas, well established trade routes, and it all collapsed suddenly and was obliterated within a decade and a half.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #5)

Tue Jun 2, 2020, 12:28 PM

6. First off, let me apologize for misspelling "Nafion."

After 30 years of dedicated research, I strongly disagree with your statement that nuclear power is not the end all and be all of energy.

I have studied many hundreds of reactor designs, and written about them extensively here.

Out of many hundreds of designs, in thermal reactors, which dominate the current world fleet are basically of three kinds. PWR, BWR, and the marvelous HWR ("Candu" )

These reactors are all designed to produce less than 40% thermal efficiency - more generally they are around 33%.

They are based on technology that was developed in the 1950's and 1960's when a computer the power of the one on which I write would have filled an entire building.

They have operated for half a century - under constant attack by mindless people - and they still produce, reliably, more primary energy than all of the world's solar and wind facilities combined.

As I have spent much of my adult life reading about energy and the environment in the primary scientific literature, I stand by my claim: There are zero forms of energy available to humanity that are as sustainable and, frankly, as safe, as nuclear energy.

I have absolutely - with tons of hard work - convinced myself that very high thermodynamic efficiencies are available from nuclear technology; something I learned by studying a form of energy that is really killing the planet: Dangerous natural gas. A combined cycle gas plant is nothing more than process intensification.

We do not need water for certain designs. In fact, there are lots of useful things we can do with waste heat. I will note, however, that putting barges at sea to service unreliable wind projects, also require water, and that many water supplies have been damaged by mining related events, and if there is one thing that low energy to mass junk like solar cells and wind plants need, it's mining.

As for fusion: For over ten years, I have attended lectures at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab's Science on Saturday series every winter. Almost every single one has at least one or two - sometimes three lectures - on fusion energy.

It's not here yet. The ITER will not be hooked up to an electrical generator.

If it takes ten years to get one hooked up, that will involve 24 ppm higher concentrations of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide in the grand international waste dump, our atmosphere.

Fusion is nuclear energy, and I have nothing against it other than the fact that it isn't here. Neither is the solar and wind nirvana that's been predicted my whole life along with fusion really here. In terms of energy, 12.27 exajoules out of 599+ exajoules at a cost of three trillion dollars is just a silly, but deadly, joke.

The world built more than 450 nuclear reactors in a few decades, until construction and development was stopped by appeals to fear and ignorance. Our nuclear engineering infrastructure was deliberately destroyed by appeals to fear and ignorance.

Nevertheless, the oldest nuclear reactors, even with their lack of versatility - they were designed to only produce electricity - have proved to have the lowest death rate per MWh of any form of energy, at least if one is educated enough to know about Banqiao.

We don't need all that other bullshit. We just need people to think.

I have thought about it.

I grant that people won't think, and so, well, if a world with a tropical Canada will still be a world nonetheless, I find it unsatisfying that we have consigned ourselves to that for no good reason. It won't be a world in which I would want to live. Frankly, I would have preferred to leave my two sons a better world, not a worse world.

If that world contains human beings, and if they have a sense of history, this generation of fools will be regarded with extreme contempt as well it should be. They'll be all kinds of toxic shit leaching out of abandoned batteries, out of solar cells that have become electronic waste. In addition, the survivors, if there are many will need to consider what to do with rotting and abandoned wind turbines strewn over every piece of the Earth.

All this, because a few atoms of cesium-137 found in a tuna fish could raise an international chorus of stupidity.

Nuclear power need not be without risk to be vastly superior to everything else. It only has be vastly superior to everything else, which it is.

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