Energy

Have we entered the era of 'de-growth'?

Posted on 1 November 2011 by Steven Smith

The financial woes of 2008-9 are expected to be minor compared to 2012 and beyond. My understanding of the state of global finances, based on discussion with people who understand the economy, combined with my knowledge of resources, food production,  technology and climate change, leads me to conclude that we are on the cusp of ‘peak growth’.

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Why should you be interested in helium?

Posted on 28 October 2011 by Steven Smith

Helium is the second most abundant element in the known universe, after hydrogen. Strangely, however, a shortage of helium will be faced in the near future (Scholes, 2011).

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The need for objectivity in the energy debate

Posted on 3 October 2011 by Steven Smith

I entered the debate on climate, energy and food because I am concerned about the planet and our future. Understandably, emotions run high and some views are extreme. At one extreme some people deny that the climate is warming and others deny that we are causing it, despite overwhelming scientific consensus to the contrary. Among such deniers are people in the business and political sectors, who fear the loss of livelihoods and prosperity.  

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Nuclear Power: Thanks, but No Thanks

Posted on 8 August 2011 by Stephan Lewandowsky

In two recent posts (here and here), colleague David Hodgkinson eloquently presented the case for nuclear power as one strategy to deal with climate change. Rather than revisiting all arguments in favour of nuclear power or against it, he focused on three core issues: (a) expense, (b) nuclear waste, and (c) militarization. In addition, Hodgkinson suggests that unless we put in place an infrastructure now, an ostensibly “cheap” nuclear power option will be precluded when the world gets serious about emission cuts within the next 10 years or so.

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Saying Yes to Nuclear: Part II

Posted on 1 August 2011 by David Hodgkinson

An earlier post set out the climate change problem. This post sets the role of nuclear power, or nuclear energy, in addressing that problem. My argument is that nuclear power (with renewable energy) is an important option for achieving electricity production with a small carbon footprint – for reducing emissions.

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Saying Yes to Nuclear: One Option to Mitigate Climate Change

Posted on 28 July 2011 by David Hodgkinson

PART I

I set out here the climate change problem and the role of nuclear power, or nuclear energy, in addressing that problem. My argument is that nuclear power (with renewable energy) is an important option for achieving electricity production with a small carbon footprint – for reducing emissions. As a report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2009 makes clear,

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German Energy Priorities

Posted on 6 July 2011 by Dana Nuccitelli

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, Germany has decided to phase-out its nuclear power plants by 2022.  Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany would need to replace a substantial amount of this phased-out energy with coal and natural gas power plants.

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A Detailed Look at Renewable Baseload Energy

Posted on 28 June 2011 by Dana Nuccitelli

The myth that renewable energy sources can't meet baseload (24-hour per day) demand has become quite widespread and widely-accepted.  After all, the wind doesn't blow all the time, and there's no sunlight at night.  However, detailed computer simulations, backed up by real-world experience with wind power, demonstrate that a transition to 100% energy production from renewable sources is possible within the next few decades.

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Feed In Tariffs – The Devil Lies In The Details

Posted on 13 May 2011 by John Gregg

Climate Change “is the greatest market failure the world has seen”

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Energy is neither renewable nor sustainable

Posted on 21 April 2011 by Steven Smith

The pressure is on to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow climate change. The way proposed by most people is to switch away from fossil fuels to alternatives such as wind, solar, tidal and geothermal. Such alternative energy sources are often described as ‘renewable’ or ‘sustainable’. This terminology implies to most people that such alternatives can meet our energy demands in perpetuity, without polluting the environment. This is wrong, and will lead to serious errors in policy making.

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A Plan for 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

Posted on 4 April 2011 by Dana Nuccitelli

We recently examined how Australia can meet 100% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020.  Here we will examine how that goal can be scaled up for the rest of the world.

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Responsible Energy Reporting

Posted on 31 March 2011 by Steven Smith

Scientists and science communicators have a responsibility to report new research in a balanced and objective way. Exaggerated claims of the importance of fundamental discoveries and technological developments in areas such as alternative energy and carbon capture, lead to false expectations and poor policy. The message that should be conveyed is that science and technology is important to pursue, but it does not have the answers to deliver cheap clean energy in the amount that societies have come to expect from fossil fuels.

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A Plan for 100% Energy from Wind, Water, and Solar by 2050

Posted on 27 March 2011 by Dana Nuccitelli

We recently examined how Australia can meet 100% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020, and the Ecofys plan to meet nearly 100% of global energy needs with renewable sources by 2050.  Here we will look at another similar, but perhaps even more ambitious plan.

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