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by Mr. Green, Green Acres,
on Jul 12, 2008
How long have we been hearing about these solar energy miracles? Their main effect has been to delay the ONLY sufficient carbon-free source of electricity, which is NUCLEAR.
Here is a little thought challenge for you: Suppose we set up a national investment fund, but in the sense of a mega-bet. Two national bonds would be sold, with winner takes all, since the loser will be worth zero.
The bet is the following: Nuclear and solar will each GUARANTEE 40% of U.S. electrical base supply, within 30 years. For every percentage point short of this, the losing bond will pay the winning bond, according to the national wealth that is lost by the failure to achieve the benchmark.
The only assumption is that nuclear and solar are allowed to compete, safely, without lawsuits, at any level, except for proven damgages to indiviuals.
It would be a great competition of technologies, and the U.S. would be a huge winner. Imagine a tie, where each achieves the 40% benchmark! OPEC would be history, at least with respect to the the U.S.
Not really, because the more investment we see in solar, while nuclear is considered (rightfully so) poison by most of the developed world, the faster we'll be motivated and get to solar technologies that are orders-of-magnitude more efficient than what we currently have. Nuclear power will keep us energy independent, and dumb about a true energy future. Nuclear is off the table, and rightfully so.
Nuclear is not only not off the table, but it is probably most OF the table for the next 30 years. The thing you are afraid of is competition.
If only half the promises of solar come true, you should be confident, because your side might win the bet. However, you are NOT confident, and that is why you do not want a fair competition. What you want is delay, just like we have had for the past several decades.
I am NOT afraid of solar compeition, but you ARE afraid of nuclear compeition.
The thing that is at stake is the economic and security well-being of the U.S.
I support nuclear AND solar!
"that is why you do not want a fair competition. "
That's capitalism: CRUSH the competition
"That's capitalism: CRUSH the competition"
What's to crush? If you take my bet, BOTH technologies will advance, and dramatically so. The U.S. will be MUCH better off!
The losers will only be those investors in one of the two bonds. The technology will march on, with those investors who want to invest it either one of them, independent of the bet.
I smell fear on your part, Mr. Green.
I have personal fears, like any person, but I do not fear losing my proposed bet.
The real hope of a solar future is competitive capitalism, not socialism. The USSR proved that lesson already.
Today is Buckminster Fuller's 113th birthday. There is an exhibit about Fuller at the Whitney, in NY.
Here's a Fuller quote, form that exhibit:
"Throughout the history of man there has never been enough to go around for everyone---there has always been scarcity. Therefore, the basic problem was: who gets what? Who survives and who doesn't? Every society has had a different system for deciding that question, and which group survived was usually decided by war!
But just because it has always been that way doesn't mean that it always has to be that way in the future. Just because there was scarcity in the past, does that mean that there has to be scarcity in the future?
No! Mankind now has enough knowledge to be able to invent our way into a future of plenty. We are just not aware of the fact that we now have that possibility. According to the engineers, the world's industrial system is now operating at only about four percent efficiency, but it could easily be improved to an average of twelve percent. In other words, all we have to do is start using already existing inventions and stop being so wasteful!
Ok. That sounds great, but having two or three times as much wealth would not do much good if the world's population keeps growing. Luckily, it just so happens that as industrialization increases, the global birth rate decreases. As the amount of energy per person increases, the birth rate decreases, so that if the world is completely industrialized by about the year 2010, the total population should peak at about 6 billion & then start declining.
Therefore, if we only double the average efficiency we could easily take care of the world's present one billion poor (the other four billion are already "making it" now). And if we triple the efficiency we could not only take care of any future population growth, but dramatically raise everyone's standard of living.
(The figures that I have used are very conservative. The efficiency could probably be raised much higher, complete industrialization could be achieved much faster, and population growth slowed down much faster. It is better to understate than overstate.)
So, we are not on a treadmill; there is a way out. There is a practical strategy. How, specifically, can we raise the efficiency? How can we get more energy, use less materials, & use less time to provide for our basic needs? What do we need?"
"eventually we will doom big oil..."
Like most people, this poster wants to doom the people in the USA who have stock in "big oil"..which is 54% of us!
Little know is that 54% of adults have stock in an oil company.
Just about everyone who has any stock at all, pensions, etc has stock in an oil company.
Think about it.
Mr. Green, to answer your question, about "how?" and "what do we need?". Trust the market. Many people are working on it, hoping to make big bucks. Every year there are more innovations. How do you think this one came up? For fun?
Don't worry, we will get there, and we will vote for the strategies with our pocketbooks, not with tax dollars.
Just because there was scarcity in the past, does that mean that there has to be scarcity in the future?
The answer is "yes"...because as, for example, every single American has "more", scarcity gets redefined. So now, for example, scarcity means that those in the lower 20% have only one car, one home, one microwave, one TV, and are fat. 30 years ago scarcity meant that those in the lower 20% were thin but had enough to eat, had no cars, maybe a black and white tv, no microwaves. Scarcity 80 years ago meant you starved to death. yet, somehow, we are always telling ourselves there are "scarcities" in America.
Even as pertains to oil. The reason we are not energy independent and have "scarcity" as pertains to oil right now is because of the Left in our country who has stopped us from getting our own oil out of our own country, from building refineries and nuclear plants. If we had started 30 years ago, we wouldn't have any scarcity right now, would we? And, who knows,..maybe the Middle East would be further along in its reformation because we wouldn't have been buying oil from dictatorships?
So, yes, there will always be scarcities.
Nuclear is considered poison by most of the developed world? you gotta be kidding! please find out what percent of electricity comes for nuclear power in the other "developed" countries..like France.
As countries get richer, their birth rate decreases..this is true..but guess what, the poorer folks keep pouring into the richer nations and by 2050 will be the majority stakeholders in the Western World. Guess who those folks are in Europe?
Doncha think that we better get moving on our energy independence in any way we can? what do you think is going to happen when Europe/England are majority Muslim with relatives throughout the Middle East?
Energy independence any way we can? Like eliminating autos in favor of rickshaws? Like in eliminating air conditioning except for government officials? Like requiring everyone to live in dorms adjacent to their workplace?
Greenie, what chemicals are used to make these marvelous solar collectors? And, as I always ask, whatcha gonna do when the sun don't shine?
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