T Nation

Abrupt Climate Change & Human Extinction


Solyndra failed because the market shifted under them. Solyndra panels were built on CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide), which is a fantastic photovoltaic material. However, CIGS cannot compete with silicon today because the cost of silicon plummeted, taking even experts by surprise. Partly because China, the country everyone loves to mention, is spending more on renewable energy than any other country on the planet. They and India are buying in far more than you appear to believe.
Remember that these very populous countries have hundreds of millions of poor citizens, and they don’t touch the US when it comes to per capita emissions.


I do not think there is any point in discussing the accuracy and error margins of climate models unless you are an expert. It really is a waste of time. I do not mean to condescend, but you probably have about as much chance of understanding and explaining the interactions of proteins involved in metastasis.

Unless of course you’re an expert…


That’s irrelevant, it’s an example of funding and activism for climate change, which is what you asked for.



Subsidising promising technology is not activism, it’s an example of action. Yes, this is me splitting hairs perhaps, but it is certainly a far cry from the peddling of lies and alarmism which was the point of my initial reply.

Also I fail to see the point of that last image…?


The goal of 100% renewable energy, while admirable is not achievable. Solar cells are marginally efficient at best (20% on average) and will not produce the energy necessary to power most of the US. Even the most efficient cells that haven’t been deployed yet are only at 26% (details here)
In 2017, Orange county used 6745 Million GigaWatt-hours (GWh) of energy. Using the data [here] (https://www.energymanagertoday.com/it-takes-2-8-acres-of-land-to-generate-1gwh-of-solar-energy-per-year-says-nrel-094185/) that it takes 2.8 acres to produce 1GWh of energy from solar farms - it means that you would need 18, 886 Million (=almost 19 trillion) acres of solar farms just to power the residents of Orange county California. This is almost 30 billion square miles.The US has an area of 3.8 Million square miles…See the problem?
We can add in wind power, but that really only has good potential in certain parts of the country.
Wind Power Generation Potential
The link above shows the wind power potential of the United States based on geographic location. As one can see, only certain areas have good capability for wind power generation. Considering that turbines are only effective above 4.0 m/s winds, are typically rated for 15 m/s (most efficient power generation wind speed) and cut out at 25 m/s to avoid overloading and structural problems (i.e. failure)
Thislink details the speeds.
Now, this can be improved by building more massive turbines and bringing the hub height to say 100m instead of 50m. However, these structures are massive and noisy and because people have a NIMBY (Not in my backyard) attitude cannot go near populated areas that consume the most power.
This leads to whats known as I^2*R (read: I-squared R loss) for power transmission. Essentially this means that transmitting power over long lines requires a serious drop in amperage in order not to lose all the power due to the inherent resistance in the power cables.

Nuclear energy is the way to go if we want to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.


So much this

Edit: also, great post :+1:


Lol, okay… So, basically, your question wasn’t asked in good faith because you’ve created an impossible standard. Government spending on what it deems “promising technology” is an action, but lobbying is activism.

You said China and India are “buying” into renewables, which is wonderful, but they’re still two of the top three CO2 emitters.



Amen. Also let’s not forget natural gas as the transitional fuel, and the fact that natural gas is replacing coal fired electric generation plants throughout the world.


Taking into account how polluted both China and India are, I can see why they are more aggressive in terms of energy transition.


Yes. This is accurate. The original poster was saying scientists and activists are speaking for dollars. I was not addressing things such as Solyndra’s misfortune and mismanagement.

A common bit of misdirection here. Note that I said per capita — China has half the US emissions, India has a tenth.


I never said all of them are in it purely for the money. You seem to think in extremes.


I would also ask: Why 100% immediately? The task has never been to switch to renewables completely, overnight.

Nuclear energy is indeed an excellent bridging technology, as is gas. Coal has no future, even without climate change.


Agreed, but I wonder if they combined efforts of the top 3 or 4 polluters will be enough to impact climate change.

Not to mention the impact a shift away from fossil fuels will have on nations that depend on fossil fuel exports and what they’ll do to mitigate those losses.

Gonna have to disagree I guess.

They also have a fuckton more people, which is why their per capita emissions are lower and it’s not misdirection. Per capita emissions are completely irrelevant in this case. Total CO2 emissions have to drop in order to reduce the impact of climate change and China and India along with the US produce the most total CO2 emissions.

I couldn’t care less if we use or don’t use fossil fuels. If we can make a sitch to renewables without my taxes increasing astronomically and without the likely economic turmoil in the US and across the globe, great.


Immediately or in the near future (~10 - 20 years) is not feasible from a pure power generation standpoint using renewable sources. The technology is nowhere near a maturity/efficiency level to make it feasible anywhere in the foreseeable future either.


It may make a dent, but I’d find it unlikely that the lesser polluters would trail. I think we’ll see the true energy transition in phases from the most developed countries to the least developed. Especially given that OECD energy consumption is flatlined through 2040, but non-OECD is set to double in that same time period.

Although that being said, in countries with highly limited transportation infrastructure, renewables may be more practical.

I imagine it would be a similar situation that the coal-producing US states are going through now. I think the name of the game is diversification. As much as I’m disgusted by the Saudi Crown Prince and his government, I think they foresee the eventual crude oil market decline and it shows through courting investors.

Though oil demand is expected to peak in the 2020s (via EIA, which I truthfully find to be a bit too conservative as it doesn’t seem to anticipate technological advancements or evolving public sentiment well), natural gas production is growing at the same rate as renewables (combined, that is) and is forecasted to remain steady through 2050, so it’s sound to invest in NG liquefaction infrastructure for those fossil-based economies.

All of this being said, I think carbon capture technology may outpace the curbing or elimination of carbon output.

Also, agriculture anyone?


You seem to be implying that it’s a problem to drop the amperage… Can you explain?


I notice an if/then situation
Do you think the environmental risks of nuclear energy are less concerning than the environmental risks of greenhouse gases?


Do you mean the aspect of storing the waste? Or the meltdown risk?

As a general aside, is “nuclear safety” something that hasn’t fully been dove into yet? Genuinely asking to the crowd. I’m not very up to date on it.


It was an open question, I didn’t mean anything in particular.

I’m not very knowledgeable about it either, but I feel the need to assert that since “the stuff” has a half-life that is longer than human history, it can’t have been fully dove into yet


So what you’re saying is just like how we know certain proteins are involved in the control of the motility and mobility of cancer cells allowing them to move about the body we can model the climate using observable data all while failing to do fuck-all to prevent it.