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  #31  
Old 02-07-2005, 12:04 PM
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There are big money interests with their fingers in everything. Even environmentalists are part of a self sustaining "business". So it isn't just the big oil companies and utilities that are at work in this debate. An environmental lobbyist paid six figures in Washington will do whatever is necessary to protect his or her position. All interests are political. There is no "pure" position to be had except self-interest.

It strikes me as interesting that over the years various energy alternatives have been worked on - you know - solar, wind, etc. However, now that science is making some of these methods more practicle, a new interest group is coming along to fight against it. Case in point: the off shore wind generating turbines near Cape Cod, and Long Island. Some one comes along and suggests that a clean source of energy is possible and an environmental-ist type says "no way, not here".

Electric transmission lines and power plants are ugly. Refineries and factories are ugly. They smell bad and probably shorten some lives with their emissions. Asbestos has killed a few thousand people over the years, but how many did it save when used as a fire retardant in an age when none other was available. None of us wants to live without electricity. None of us should have to live without it. But, we pay a price for the convenience.

What we have in terms of modern conveniences are largely the result of labor saving devices made possible by the internal combustion engine and electric power. These things have made possible the greatest increase in food production and life saving technologies in human history. The population of the planet is well fed and mainly pain free because of it. A return to the "utopian" past is a silly goal. (Remember how much greenhouse gases horses give off? Or have you seen pictures of manure piles in Manhattan in the 18th and 19th centuries?)

But the motivation of "interest groups" is always in question as they do little more than tear down an idea by seeking retribution or some form of compensation. A reality check is important, but seeing the larger picture is more so. And most people are not in any way equipped to see the larger picture. Few if any have the tools for it.

Thus I support the previous post which wondered: how can we predict what will happen in 100 or 200 years if we don't even know what the weather will be next week. And, by the way, I prefer the smell of diesel smoke over that of a gas burner any day. I don't care how many particulates are in it. It just smells better.

DS
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  #32  
Old 02-07-2005, 12:14 PM
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Thank you sleeeper and phidauex for contributing FACTS. I would only add that you cannot judge the truth or fiction of global warming by looking out your window. The reality is that "global warming" causes different effects in different areas of the world, including weather disruptions that may result in a "colder than last year" winter in particular locales. But the global average result is still an indisputable increase in temperatures.
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  #33  
Old 02-07-2005, 12:15 PM
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dslsmith. NIMBY. Not In My Back Yard. Remember the election promise of Kerry not to build a permanent storage site for nuclear waste in NV? He doesn't tell where it will be built. Therefore I can only surmise he will build a Space 1999 Moonbase Alpha to store it on the moon. Once again, NIMBY. People don't care where it is built as long as it is not in their backyard. People want the benifits but not the cost. IOW, I want a Free Lunch. Like when someone mentioned that biodiesel had all the benifits with no drawbacks, I tend to call BS. In the last 38 years of my life, I have not seen a free lunch. Not saying there is no free lunch, Just that the odds of me running into it are negligable.
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  #34  
Old 02-07-2005, 02:06 PM
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Ocean levels are indeed beginning to rise. Studies tracking the annual growth and shrinkage of ice floes are seeing a trend toward more shrinkage, and less growth, and this is correlating to a rise in sea levels. Its not happening all at once like some scare mongers would lead you to believe, but it is happening. Every year there is less louisiana than there was the year before.

Predicting the weather in one location is much more difficult than predicting a global change. I know that sounds backwards, but it really isn't. Weather in your zip code is affected by thousands of variables, weather nearby, water currents, cloud cover, solar patterns, etc. The temperature of the earth as a whole is affected by far fewer variables. The biggest, and easiest to measure (with satellites) is the planetary energy balance, how much energy hits the planet, and how much leaves. That ratio has been dropping as measured by satellites, showing that we are storing more energy than we were before. Hence, temperatures rise.

Its just a slow process, because its a big planet.

Anyway, the details of the process are still being researched, but I think most of us can agree that lowering emissions is a good plan, both for our moment to moment health, and the long term health of the planet.

There is no such thing as 'free' energy, and our energy choices have drastically affected our society of the last 200 years. The next steps we make as a society are going to be determined by our sources of energy. Even the biodiesel I love so dearly is just a step on the road, and far from perfect. Thermodynamics reigns supreme, and any source of energy will take energy to create. Eventually it all has to come from the sun, however, be it photovoltaic, biomass, or wind. Everything has its tradeoffs, and those must be clearly identified. Whenever anything claims to be a 'miracle cure-all' it is doomed to failure. However, honesty about something's benefits can allow it to be a useful step.

peace,
sam
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  #35  
Old 02-07-2005, 02:20 PM
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I suppose there are 3 sides to any issue. Your side, their side and the truth. My only concern is that they are using a lot of non-definative words. Likely, Maybe, It Could be, etc, etc. I just have a hard time paying for a definate maybe product. If they could show proof positive and ruled out everything else, I would say that would make it more credible. I men, how confident would you be if you were in a building where the architects and engineers say "It is likely that the roof will not collapse on you."? Thanx but no thanx. I'll go somewhere else.
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  #36  
Old 02-07-2005, 02:46 PM
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aklim,
I can sympathize with your unhappiness with scientific uncertainty but when trying to make decisions we must use the best information available. Any discussion of the future will involve probabilities and uncertainty and anyone who tries to tell you different is full of it. Buildings do collapse and what do you think the architects told their customers when selling the designs? On a philosophical side note you can never actually prove anything that is true today will be true tomorrow, only speak to the probability that it will be based on past observations. Theories are usually only accepted after repeated attempts to disprove them. The future effects of global warming and greenhouse gases are certainly open to debate but there is some pretty good information out there to work with. Global warming and increased CO2 are as much a fact as anything you will encounter in this life.

Below some cut and past from the NOAA climate website:

Human activity has been increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (mostly carbon dioxide from combustion of coal, oil, and gas; plus a few other trace gases). There is no scientific debate on this point. Pre-industrial levels of carbon dioxide (prior to the start of the Industrial Revolution) were about 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv), and current levels are about 370 ppmv. The concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere today, has not been exceeded in the last 420,000 years, and likely not in the last 20 million years. According to the IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES), by the end of the 21st century, we could expect to see carbon dioxide concentrations of anywhere from 490 to 1260 ppm (75-350% above the pre-industrial concentration).

Global surface temperatures have increased about 0.6C (plus or minus 0.2C) since the late-19th century, and about 0.4F (0.2 to 0.3C) over the past 25 years (the period with the most credible data). The warming has not been globally uniform. Some areas (including parts of the southeastern U.S.) have, in fact, cooled over the last century. The recent warmth has been greatest over North America and Eurasia between 40 and 70N. Warming, assisted by the record El Nio of 1997-1998, has continued right up to the present, with 2001 being the second warmest year on record after 1998.

Polar ice is melting and sea levels are rising; Global mean sea level has been rising at an average rate of 1 to 2 mm/year over the past 100 years, which is significantly larger than the rate averaged over the last several thousand years. Again these points are not really disputed:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4228411.stm

good faq about climate change:

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html - Q10

This links to in depth reports from the intergovernmental panel on climate change:
http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/

Here is a link to congressional testimony that presents a US government scientists perspective:

http://www.senate.gov/~gov_affairs/071801_karl.htm

Im just glad I drive a diesel!
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  #37  
Old 02-07-2005, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aklim
I suppose there are 3 sides to any issue. Your side, their side and the truth. My only concern is that they are using a lot of non-definative words. Likely, Maybe, It Could be, etc, etc. I just have a hard time paying for a definate maybe product. If they could show proof positive and ruled out everything else, I would say that would make it more credible. I men, how confident would you be if you were in a building where the architects and engineers say "It is likely that the roof will not collapse on you."? Thanx but no thanx. I'll go somewhere else.
Probabilities are a necessary part of the scientific method. Science is a slow and gradual refinement of our knowledge about a given system, and is always going to be changed and modified as we learn more. If anyone tells you in no uncertain terms exactly what the future will hold with no probabilities, then they are feeding you a line. I'm not saying that in 50 years the temperature will be exactly 10 degrees warmer than it is today, just that it is on an upward trend. All the predictions are models based on various assumptions about what the future holds. None of them are meant to be dogma, just predictions. As we get more information, the predictions get better.

I know you have a big pet peeve with people who claim there are no drawbacks to a choice, and I have a similar pet peeve with people who leave no room for changing scientific theories. Every day we know more than we did the day before, and hopefully we know enough to make reasonable predictions. I think we do, but it has to be taken step by step. Proof is not absolute in science like it is in law, a theory must have thousands of little proofs in order to stand up. The more little proofs it has, the stronger it stands, but there is no silver bullet that will cement a theory as a law.

peace,
sam
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  #38  
Old 02-08-2005, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannym
SNIP

Also someone mentioned that electric cars cause polution because power plants burn coal. Modern gas/electric cars are charged by the braking system. Therefore not indirectly burning coal. Maybe during the initial charging. If they even do that. But definitely not during the lifesan of the vehicle.

Danny
Danny,
While regenerative braking DOES improve the efficiency of an electric vehicle. It is NOT 100% efficient. It is probably less than 30% efficient (just an educated guell, but I will concede to anyone with measured bvalues).
ANy vehicle will need to overcome friction (rolling resistance, air drag etc), so despite theregenerative braking, every electric vehicle will still need recharging regularly.

No Free Lunch Here
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  #39  
Old 02-08-2005, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyFromWestOz
Danny,
While regenerative braking DOES improve the efficiency of an electric vehicle. It is NOT 100% efficient. It is probably less than 30% efficient (just an educated guell, but I will concede to anyone with measured bvalues).
ANy vehicle will need to overcome friction (rolling resistance, air drag etc), so despite theregenerative braking, every electric vehicle will still need recharging regularly.

No Free Lunch Here
Tony
I would just add that modern hybrids are also charged by the gas engine. In fact, I'd go so far as to say this is the primary means of recharging the battery packs they carry, even if you're talking about regenerative braking, because it is the burning of gasoline that created the forward motion that is later recovered as electricity through regen braking. Also, (on my Insight, for instance) some energy created by the gas engine goes to sort of "trickle charge" the battery pack under many operating conditions, then additional energy is stored during regen braking.
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  #40  
Old 02-08-2005, 12:36 PM
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The hybrids are not bad, but they still burn gasoline and thus contribute to global warming and demand for crude oil. I think diesel-electric hybrids, preferably running on biodiesel, is the ultimate and most practical way to go in curbing emissions. We'll have to see about hydrogen cars, but what I've been reading lately is that the major oil companies plan on controlling the hydrogen market by producing hydrogen from crude oil products instead of water. I really hope that won't be the case, at least not for long, otherwise the whole hydrogen concept will be pretty useless because it'll just produce the same kind of pollution if not more as today's vehicles.
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  #41  
Old 02-08-2005, 01:46 PM
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There will be a down side to hydrogen engines in the need to creat hydrogen. It will be done with electricity which still has to be made using burning hydrocarbons.

I like the idea of an active nuclear energy industry. It seems to me that with improvements in transmission line technology, nuclear energy plants could be built anywhere. The technology to build and operate them should be examined. With computer technology being so different than it was in the 70's maybe these things could be trusted.

DS
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  #42  
Old 02-08-2005, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by P.E.Haiges
Stop wasting gas and oil in power plants and go to nuclear. NO co2 emissions from nuke plants.

P E H
I'm onboard with the "more nuclear power" option as well, and it doesn't even bother me when some people say "noo-q-lar". Unfortunatly, being a resident of California out of neccesity (the job is here), the "that's scary" argument abounds. Very similar to the "diesel is icky" argument supported by many of the poli sci folks I knew in college who later went on to join various "environmental" groups and onward to working for various legislators. All the while not ever learning one whit of science; in fact quite the opposite, since math was "way too hard".
I do love my diesels though...
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  #43  
Old 02-08-2005, 02:03 PM
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I know you need electricity to produce hydrogen from water, but it can to at least some extent be done with clean energy, like wind and solar power. Most likely coal and natural gas will still be the main source of electricity for producing hydrogen from water, but that's probably still better than producing hydrogen from crude oil. Nuclear energy seems promising, but you have to deal with radioactive waste and possible exposure to radiation. Other problems with hydrogen is that it's a low density fuel that would need to be super-pressurized to allow for any meaningful driving range. All this has made me come to the conclusion that diesels and diesel hybrids running on biodiesel is the best alternative.
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  #44  
Old 02-08-2005, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselAddict
I think diesel-electric hybrids, preferably running on biodiesel, is the ultimate and most practical way to go in curbing emissions.
Amen to that. Near me in Elk Grove, Calif., the city recently put some diesel-hybrid public transit buses on the road. But for the life of me, I don't understand why a diesel-hybrid car isn't available already. As far as I know, one isn't even planned. What gives?
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  #45  
Old 02-08-2005, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WannaWagon
But for the life of me, I don't understand why a diesel-hybrid car isn't available already. As far as I know, one isn't even planned. What gives?
Would you plan for a rainshower in the sahara? Count the number of cars that pass by and tell me the percentage of them that are diesel.

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