Uploaded: Thu, Jan 31, 2008, 11:34 am
Bill for teaching climate change passes Senate
A bill authored by state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, to teach climate change in California schools passed the Senate Wednesday on a 26-13 vote.
"A rigorous program of science instruction has to be both current and relevant, and that certainly has to include climate change," Simitian said.
The bill, SB 908, would require climate change to be added to the environmental studies curriculum during the next scheduled update of the curriculum by the state.
The bill now goes to the state Assembly for consideration.
-- Don Kazak
Posted by Greg,
a resident of Southgate
on Feb 11, 2008 at 1:04 pm
People who try to make a Frankenstein creature out of nuclear power plants are luddites. Why? Because it so irrational. Chernobyl has been the worst case accident thus far. It did not have a containment building (unlike all U.S. plants, like Three Mile Island). The deaths at Chernobyl, while tragic, were limited mostly to the immediate responders. The absurd long-term predictions of future cancers, by the luddite crowd, are nothing more than scare tactics (based on the Gofman single pass theory). Oh yes, OP, you are a luddite, even though you probably now accept automated knitting frames, perhaps even the cotton gin.
It is hard to figure out your risk analysis, if it can be called that. Many more people are killed each year by bicycle riding, compared to nuclear power plants. A simple question can be posed: If bicycle riding were to be banned, people would still go on with their lives, pretty much without effect; if electrcity supplies are cut back by 20%, for example, many peoples' lives would be harmed. It is called risk-beneift analysis, and nukes have it way over bicycles on this score.
I am not dismissive of alternative technologies. I am all for them. However, promises do not usually yield results. The latest craze is solar thermal, with storage. I hope it works. The question is, if it does not work, and demand continues to climb, and you luddites curtail nuclear, then what? Nukes and alternatives are NOT mutually exclusive.
Shootng stuff to the sun? Why do that when it can be bred into more fuel, then disposed of in subduction zones? That is not expensive, once the profit from doing so is calculated.
You, correctly, state that nuclear power is capital intensive, upfront. However, you fail to mention that the cost of the fuels is relatively small, unlike coal, oil, gas. Why not let nuclear compete in the open market with the fossil fuels and alternatives? If it can't make it, it will die off. India and China cleary think that it is a good bet, not to mention France. Don't forget that nuclear should get a carbon credit, just like the alternatives that do not produce CO2...perhaps Al Gore can offset his excess carbon production with investments in nukes.
Radiation CAN be bad, if it is at a high enough level. However, we use radiation all the time, to great benefit, in medicine and medical research. If you are truly concerned about low level radiation, you should be outraged with the burning of coal, which produces enormously more low level radiation in the environment, compared with nucler power plants.
VCs invest in new technologies all the time. That is why they exist. I am very happy to see them taking the risk on alternative energies. Investment in nuclear plants is very strong in foreign countries (e.g. GE), and it will become very strong in this country, once the luddites are driven to the sidelines. Apologies to "Engineer", but I think he is just burned out on this one, even though he appears to support the underlying arguments.
Nukes are the future (at least a good portion of it)!
Luddites can just wistfully read Byron. King Lutt is dead.
Posted by Engineer,
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 12, 2008 at 9:24 pm
"I never suggested a size of an investment--merely pointed out that if we had spent what we spent on Iraq on altnernative energy we could pretty much put a solar panel on every roof and a turbine in every backyard. A comment, as much as anything, on the economic inefficiency of fighting for oil.
Is it necessary for the government to do this? No. Solar is becoming increasingly more affordable--Moore's law at work. So far more than a promise--a reality. The technology exists. "
I believe that you sincerely believe what you believe. So let me just take you at your word on your statement, above:
1. The apporoximate cost of the Iraq war is $1T, although the net cost is probably lower, becasue we would have military presence over there anyway. How about we just cut it in half and say $500B?
2. $500B can be spent on energy solutions in a variety of ways. Since it is government money, you seem to be implying that the government subsidize solar panels on roofs, turbines in back yards, etc. The soalr approach has only been viable, thus far, with government subsidies. This sounds, suspiciously, like Mao's backyard steel furnaces to me. I think Venter would agree. The government should be supporting research, not application. The technology is not yet at a stage to support application, Moore's Law notwithstanding. The vast majority of U.S. citizens will not accept your solar panel/turbine approach without subsidies.
3. If you are correct, and I am wrong, all those rooftop solar panels would not deliver us from the evil of oil. Here is the problem. Electricity is not, in any significant way, produced by oil in this country. Automobiles use oil. If autos switch to electricity, then they will produce a huge new demand on electrons. Most of these new cars will charge at night, when the sun doesn't shine, and the winds calm down. There would be a shift to peak load at night, and there is no alternative, proven, answer to that problem, although the solar thermal guys like to dream about it. If autos remain on carbon based fuels, there is no free lunch...it will either come from oil or land tillage (corn, cellulose, etc.).
3. The essential problem, really, is scale. Oil offers the energy density and scale to drive our transportation system. It comes at a cost, both in environmental degredation and national security. The security aspect can be solved by drilling off our continental shelves and in Alaska. The are enormous oil resurces to be had ... enough to make the U.S. completely independent of foreign oil for decades. That does not solve the environmental issue, however.
4. If global warming is the big issue, with 20 ft. sea level rise, and flooded coastal cities, alternatives cannot possibly solve the issue. Only a combination of nuclear and alternatives and efficiency can begin to address the issue. Nuclear carries the biggest punch, by far. On this point, I completely agree with "Greg". However, I do not think that nuclear will be allowed, at least until there is a major economic disaster, thus I think one needs to think solely in terms of alternatives vs. oil production nationally. If oil is off the table, becasue of environmental concerns, I fail to find the scale with alternatives. Promises, as always, but where is the beef?
5. That $500 B could best be used to fund research in new approaches to energy, certainly including fusion. If fusion come on board, that would be a huge plus. Improved solar system efficiencies would be a plus. CO2 sequestration and ethanol production, from starch, will probably be losers, thus not worth much investment, although ethanol from cellulose has at least some merit. Efficient hydrogen production would be a plus.
6. If oil and nuclear are off the table, I fail to see anything solid, just promises. The economic impact of any new approach needs to be considered in a serious way. Unfortunately, the so-called "green" approach is more promise than fact.
Very long-winded on my part, I know, OhlonePar, but I fail to see real numbers from you. Just promises.
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