T Nation

IPCC Conclusion on Climate Change


#21

I need to check that one.

And about the dystopia. I just referred to a situation where we wont do much for the next 50-100 years.

Problem is not the scale, but the speed. You said “Not overnight”, but a time span of a 100 years is overnight for the planet. Besides, do you know what has usually happened after major climatic changes? Mass extinctions. Life will always prevail in some form, but large mammals, like us, are pretty vulnerable if ecosystems collapse.

Well, scientific consensus has been wrong many times. That does not justify to ignore it. You can’t walk around yelling something like: “well, science has been wrong before! I don’t believe in laws of physics anymore!”.

There is a slight chance that the science is wrong in this, and I sure hope it would be. But its a high risk game to assume something like this.

THIS is the exact problem wqe were stating. GDP/countries short term benefits and sceptisiscm in global politics will hinder many possibilities to control this phenomenon. Yes, US GDP will grow nicely for the next 10-20 years. Then what?


#22

If we’re talking geo-engineering, I think that’s true. We would have to have the benefits massively outweigh the risks, and the risks to intentionally modifying the climate are pretty big.


#23

Maybe, but 100 years?? What as life like in 1918 compared to now? What will life be like in 3018?

At the pace of technology we could have incredible AI systems, if not general intelligence. Space travel (it’s only been going on for 50 years) could become incredibly advanced. The iPhone is only 10 years old, the internet hasn’t even been around for 30 years. I don’t think anybody can reasonably predict what life will be like 50 years from now, let alone 100.

A fun blog post on the perspective of time:
https://waitbutwhy.com/2013/08/putting-time-in-perspective.html


#24

True, but that touches the same question that we had with the AI. Possibilities are infinite. But we must also be prepared for the not so positive outcome. Even though I said that we must be optimistic about the scientific/technological progress, we can’t fully rely on that, or take it granted.

Still, all of this is fascinating. I follow physics/astrophysics/science what I can (my specialty is in another craft), and the potential opportunities are beyond what is seen in scifi-movies.

ps. thumbs up for the link. I’ve always liked these perspective/comparing presentations we have about time,space, history et cetera.


#25

If only NASA could recreate that awesome radiation blocking foil they lost the plans for when we ‘landed on the moon.’

C’mon NASA, git your shit together


#26

Is there any energy utilization technology that can replace what we have now, that doesn’t cost/use more than it creates?

Wind farms are shit. They’ll never (or at least haven’t) produce as much as they cost to create and maintain. Solar is downright anemic, and geothermal isn’t feasible in many parts of the planet. And they’re all more expensive than the current means of power generation (fossil fuels).


#27

In grand scale nuclear is the best alternative until we’ve come up with something better.

For cars and ships: once the battery tech. improves we can possibly leave out the fossils.

For planes: no idea.


#28

Where do we get the energy to build the ships and vehicles?

Or charge them?

I’ve built a few (hundred) large steel vessels. They take megawatts/hr. Just to build. Then before that is the steel processing, smelting, extraction, etc. All megawatts level operations.

I like nuclear too, but that has become its own black hole of legitimate environmental and financial concerns.

To me it comes down to financial sense and industrial reliability. The alternate energy systems just aren’t cost effective or reliably productive on an industrial or world scale.


#29

Nope, nuclear was always the way to go but Jane Fonda set us back decades.


#30

Nuclear has it problems, but its definitely too demonized.


#31

I agree, but would add Chernobyl and Fukushima to the legitimate concern side of the push back to nuclear energy.


#32

Chernobyl was a product of a faulty reactor design and typical Soviet bureaucratic inefficency and bungling. Compare that to Three Mile Island, the US equivalent of Chernobyl.

When you know what you’re doing, the risk is almost non-existent and the effects contained.

Take for example France - they’re meeting three quarters of their energy needs with nuclear power.

The event occurred during a late-night safety test which simulated a station blackout power-failure, in the course of which safety systems were intentionally turned off. A combination of inherent reactor design flaws and the reactor operators arranging the core in a manner contrary to the checklist for the test, eventually resulted in uncontrolled reaction conditions. Water flashed into steam generating a destructive steam explosion and a subsequent open-air graphite fire.[note 1] This fire produced considerable updrafts for about nine days. These lofted plumes of fission products into the atmosphere. The estimated radioactive inventory that was released during this very hot fire phase approximately equaled in magnitude the airborne fission products released in the initial destructive explosion.[3] This radioactive material precipitated onto parts of the western USSR and Europe.

Fukushima was also preventable, with clear non-technical causes.

On 5 July 2012, the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC) found that the causes of the accident had been foreseeable, and that the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), had failed to meet basic safety requirements such as risk assessment, preparing for containing collateral damage, and developing evacuation plans. On 12 October 2012, TEPCO admitted for the first time that it had failed to take necessary measures for fear of inviting lawsuits or protests against its nuclear plants.


#33

Compare the two nuclear accidents to all the deaths and enviromental damage that are caused by coal.


#34

Sure. I would even go one step further and suggest using smaller regional reactors to further mitigate risk from the larger reactors that make big messes.

Yeah. A while back I built some heat recapturing system equipment for one of them. I like that they are leading the way, but would rather that we did. There are actually a couple of nuclear tech companies around town here, and I’d like to see them do well.

Those are actually pretty small. I live in the place that used to be dark at noon, thick with smog from producing 95% of the steel in the world at the time. Its surprisingly nice now. Bald eagles reproducing, otters in the rivers, and some of the better green spaces (IMHO) in the world.

The deaths that I’m familiar with from the extraction side boil down to greed and stupidity. It is a human endeavor. My old new miner apprenticeship class was basically 5 days of MSHA reports and pictures of mangled miners. Going in, you are well informed of the dangers. That number can be expanded any number of ways, but they get pretty murky on claims vs. direct cause.

I’m not saying its entirely clean or safe, but it comes down to risk mitigation for any of these energy sources.

You also have to consider that nuclear tech has only been around for half of a century in limited use. Coal and other fossil fuels have been powering the industrial world for centuries. A lot of nuclear disasters that haven’t happened simply haven’t happened Yet.


#35

Sure, the coal burning has got better after proper filtering etc. (Its not 1910 anymore), but science has shown it has many indirect effects, that hurt us and the nature. Usually you can’t burn something without leaving a trace.

But the Chernobyl and Fukushima weren’t that bad, number of casualties we’re limited and nature did not suffer badly. Actually, the Chernobyl area seems to be thriving already only after some decades of the explosion: https://www.nature.com/articles/526166a

I agree that there are potential risks with nuclear, but if we would use it just temporarily (some tens of years), it could offer a replacement.


#36

That Chernobyl write up was a long and painful read.

Too many of those guys were just disturbingly stupid and arrogant.

I did come away with a new phrase though! Self disassembly. When a nuclear reactor goes wonky and blows through the roof, it isn’t an explosion. Its self disassembly!


#37

That is, interestingly, what the nuclear industry is actually doing. They’ve stopped trying to improve enough to cope with the last disaster, they are actively building reactors that are, for all intents and purposes, disaster proof.

Buried underground, away from fault lines, and fuel as clean as is possible. If the reactor goes haywire, they fill it in with concrete, and there is almost no leakage.


#38

That does make sense. Instead of a complex where the dominoes fall and knock each other down, have one fifty miles that way, another fifty miles the other way, etc.

I mean, I know its not exactly as simple as that, but these mega plants are just a maze of failure opportunities that never end.

The only part I will never agree with is that they are failure proof. No amount of foresight or engineering will ever outfox human nature, stupidity and greed being the heavyweight champions of the world and its entire history.


#39

Didn’t the Swedes have to alert the IAEA about radiation with Chernobyl? Like 2 days after the meltdown.

Watched a documentary on the cleanup. Those poor bastards, the “bio-robots”. The radiation on the roof was so intense it was burning out the circuitry on the robots. So they sent people in wearing lead-lined suits instead.


#40

Yeah. Their alarms were going off and they started searching for a leak in their own plant, only to realize that it wasn’t them.