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RE: Greens add to Greenhouse gasses

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  • Dan Minette
    ... yourself. I have actions that, given historical precident, have a much better chance of suceeeding. ... working on power satellites ... I m not sure if you
    Message 1 of 29 , Dec 1, 2012
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      >If you have a better way to get humanity off fossil fuels, don't keep it to
      yourself.

      I have actions that, given historical precident, have a much better chance
      of suceeeding.

      >Make a good case that it's cheaper and I will support that instead of
      working on power satellites
      >and laser propulsion.

      I'm not sure if you will like my case because it's not a quick fix. But,
      we've been trying quick fixes since the oil shock of 1973, almost 40 years
      now, and haven't made any significant progress. So, I'd argue we need a
      plan that will work in the long run as well as remediation in the short run.

      Short run: give nuclear power a level playing field...the same safety
      requirements as any other industry, and allow the testing of new safer,
      cheaper designs in the US and Europe. Practically speaking, it is unlikely
      that the Communist party/the government of China is a good source for
      innovation. Princelings tend to not want to vary from the tried and true
      much. So it is up to Europe and the US to do this. (I've had experience
      both with Chinese tech. goods and as a potential vendor for China and you
      can see the fingers of the Communist party holding back the wheels of
      progress in both cases).

      Short run: improve fuel efficiency standards. Add a tax to gasoline and
      electricity. Have rebates for low income people to balance the tax. If
      they spend it elsewhere, find.

      Short run: build a natural gas infrastructure for truck transportation in
      the US. The decline in US emissions to 1992 levels (even though the
      population increased 23%) is mostly due to the switch to natural gas from
      coal.

      But, the critical area is the developing world. China puts out more CO2
      than the US and EU combined, and the new coal plants on order from China and
      India will add this amount again. So, we need to make nuclear power cheap.
      It may not be enough to be as cheap as coal, and in that case the west could
      switch but India and China would be far less likely to. In the west, the
      small difference in cost would not be a barrier. The difference is larger
      in India and China because coal is very cheap with no pollution control or
      mining regulations.

      Mid term, offer subsidies for synthetic biofuels that do not displace
      cropland. Right now, several companies are in pilot to initial commercial
      appplication. I'd give this field the highest chance of working: say 25%
      chance of being close to competitive with gasoline while using concentrated
      waste CO2, sunlight, bioengineered life forms, and brackish water.

      Then, the goverments should support research in areas that would allow for
      alternative energy in decades. This would be developing our knowledge in a
      lot of different fields so someoone could put the knowledge together to
      develop either a power source or effective power storage.

      They include

      Plasma physics
      Mesoscopic physics
      Synthetic biology
      Material sciences

      And more engineering oriented, but still experimental:

      Development of capacitance
      Development of compact accelerators

      This is not exhaustive, I'd welcome suggestions. It's putting governments
      back in the business of funding fundamental research at, say, 1% of GDP.
      There will be scores of possibilities that all have a 1%-2% chance of
      working. And when one does, venture capital and small companies can be the
      mechanism for picking winners and losers. The government's job is to
      prepare the field.

      Dan M.


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    • Dan Minette
      ... probably even using the wind ... not technology. I beg to differ. The obvious problem is geography. Pump storage is highly used in Switzerland, and they
      Message 2 of 29 , Dec 1, 2012
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        > Of course, it would make sense to integrate water and wind plants,
        probably even using the wind
        >turbines to power the pumps directly. But that's a problem with politics,
        not technology.

        I beg to differ. The obvious problem is geography. Pump storage is highly
        used in Switzerland, and they have moutainous terrain and have hydroelectric
        dams which are perfect for combined generation/pump storage. But, most good
        windfarm locations are offshore or on the plains (e.g. Iowa or the Panhandle
        of TX) where high winds blow. The energy from a wind turbine is
        porportional to the cube of the velocity of the wind. Yes, there is high
        wind on ridge lines, but I've seen windmills there, and there is just one
        line, not row after row. So, pump storage needs to be located in very
        specific geographical locations (wherever there is a quick change in
        elevation from one large area to another....mountaintops aren't good because
        you can't put a big lake there), while the flat plains and the oceans, seas,
        and the Great Lakes are the best place to locate wind turbines. If it were
        easy, the German company that already has 10% of its nameplate capacity in
        wind would be doing water storage already.

        Dan M.


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      • Dan Minette
        ... From: brin-l-bounces@mccmedia.com [mailto:brin-l-bounces@mccmedia.com] On Behalf Of Kevin O Brien Sent: Friday, November 30, 2012 8:13 AM To:
        Message 3 of 29 , Dec 1, 2012
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          -----Original Message-----
          From: brin-l-bounces@... [mailto:brin-l-bounces@...] On
          Behalf Of Kevin O'Brien
          Sent: Friday, November 30, 2012 8:13 AM
          To: brin-l@...
          Subject: Re: Greens add to Greenhouse gasses

          On 11/30/2012 8:49 AM, Dan Minette wrote:
          >> So, they were fired up when the windmills were down due to low wind.
          >> Now, with cheap natural gas, the building of windmills has slown down
          >> to a virtual halt.


          >Well, cheap currently. It is just one carbon tax away from being expensive.
          And to my mind the only
          >question is when that tax comes, not if.

          How is that going to happen. Are you arguing that the US will impose a
          carbon tax that is so high that we will be paying more in carbon taxes than
          fuel costs? Given the fact that we've been unable to raise the gas tax in
          decades, how will we impose a severe carbon tax. A modest carbon tax will
          benefit natural gas, because it will facilitate the switch from coal to
          natural gas. Nuclear power might benefit, but I'm guessing that real reform
          of nuclear regulations will not be popular. Taxes in the US are not
          popular....even going back to the tax levels of the Clinton era is too much
          for Obama to propose.

          Given the fact that Kyoto was rejected by the US Senate 95-0, I can't see
          carbon taxes at 5x the European level. At the present level of Europe's tax,
          it would cost an extra 0.6 cents/kwH for natural gas and 1.2 cents per kWh
          for coal. That's peanuts compared to the extra cost for wind/endergy
          storage which is by far the cheapest form of energy. And for gasoline, it's
          an extra 11 cents/gallon, well within the weekly variation in price.

          And, this is just the US. China will just use coal. But, windmills will
          not be effective until the total cost, with energy storage, becomes within a
          2-3 cents/kwH of other sources.

          Dan M.


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        • Klaus Stock
          ... Only for an ideal wind turbine. In real life, current designs have to be turned out of the wind if the wind gets strong. They actually have a rather small
          Message 4 of 29 , Dec 2, 2012
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            >> Of course, it would make sense to integrate water and wind plants,
            > probably even using the wind
            >>turbines to power the pumps directly. But that's a problem with politics,
            > not technology.

            > I beg to differ. The obvious problem is geography. Pump storage is highly
            > used in Switzerland, and they have moutainous terrain and have hydroelectric
            > dams which are perfect for combined generation/pump storage. But, most good
            > windfarm locations are offshore or on the plains (e.g. Iowa or the Panhandle
            > of TX) where high winds blow. The energy from a wind turbine is
            > porportional to the cube of the velocity of the wind. Yes, there is high

            Only for an ideal wind turbine. In real life, current designs have to
            be turned out of the wind if the wind gets strong. They actually have
            a rather small range of wind speeds in which they can operate; both
            weak and strong wind is a problem.

            Vertical wind turbines, like the Savonius design, are less efficient,
            but can cope with a wider range of wind speed (including weaker wind
            and turbulent wind). Advocates of vertical wind turbines often cite
            conspiracy theories as the reason for the limited use of these designs
            in large scales.

            > wind on ridge lines, but I've seen windmills there, and there is just one
            > line, not row after row. So, pump storage needs to be located in very
            > specific geographical locations (wherever there is a quick change in
            > elevation from one large area to another....mountaintops aren't good because
            > you can't put a big lake there), while the flat plains and the oceans, seas,
            > and the Great Lakes are the best place to locate wind turbines. If it were
            > easy, the German company that already has 10% of its nameplate capacity in
            > wind would be doing water storage already.

            Nope. In Germany, political reasons are the real reasons, not common
            sense. Electricity from wind turbines was highly subsidized, with the
            result that it became "commercially efficient" to erect wind parks at
            location which made absolutely no sense. After this had been found
            out, the subsidies have been reduced. But still you can make more
            money by producing electricity than by pumping water.

            - Klaus


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          • Keith Henson
            On Sat, Dec 1, 2012 at 11:00 AM, Dan Minette wrote: (Keith) ... I make a case that going to laser propulsion and power sats would get
            Message 5 of 29 , Dec 2, 2012
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              On Sat, Dec 1, 2012 at 11:00 AM, "Dan Minette" <danminette@...> wrote:

              (Keith)
              >
              >>If you have a better way to get humanity off fossil fuels, don't keep it to
              > yourself.
              >
              > I have actions that, given historical precident, have a much better chance
              > of suceeeding.
              >
              >>Make a good case that it's cheaper and I will support that instead of
              > working on power satellites
              >>and laser propulsion.
              >
              > I'm not sure if you will like my case because it's not a quick fix.

              I make a case that going to laser propulsion and power sats would get
              humanity off fossil fuels in 20 years. Do you consider that a quick
              fix?

              But,
              > we've been trying quick fixes since the oil shock of 1973, almost 40 years
              > now, and haven't made any significant progress. So, I'd argue we need a
              > plan that will work in the long run as well as remediation in the short run.

              snip

              I notice you don't put either a cost per kWh or a capital investment
              on any of these tired proposals, Nuclear is both expensive and slow
              (even in China) to install. There are also scaling problems. If you
              are going to get off fossil fuel, do you really want to build 15,000 1
              GW reactors?

              If we are going to make a good choice, we need to cite the numbers. I
              have analyzed the cost of this new idea to build power satellites with
              laser propulsion. I get $1600 per kW and 2 cents per kWh based on
              6.8% discount rate. The cost information for other forms is easy to
              find.

              Offer stands, but you are going to have to cite defensible numbers to
              get me to switch my efforts to your concept of how to solve the
              problem.

              Keith

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            • Kevin O'Brien
              ... I am assuming that at some point we have enough Sandy s to tip the balance. That will come much later than it should have come, but I think it will come
              Message 6 of 29 , Dec 2, 2012
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                On 12/1/2012 6:36 PM, Dan Minette wrote:
                > How is that going to happen. Are you arguing that the US will impose a
                > carbon tax that is so high that we will be paying more in carbon taxes than
                > fuel costs? Given the fact that we've been unable to raise the gas tax in
                > decades, how will we impose a severe carbon tax. A modest carbon tax will
                > benefit natural gas, because it will facilitate the switch from coal to
                > natural gas. Nuclear power might benefit, but I'm guessing that real reform
                > of nuclear regulations will not be popular. Taxes in the US are not
                > popular....even going back to the tax levels of the Clinton era is too much
                > for Obama to propose.
                I am assuming that at some point we have enough "Sandy's" to tip the
                balance. That will come much later than it should have come, but I think
                it will come at some point. IF you don't think that will ever happen,
                just adjust your forecasts accordingly. BTW, carbon taxes are an
                economically efficient way of reducing emissions, which means that if
                you need to reduce emissions this does it with the least negative effect
                on the economy.

                Regards,

                --
                Kevin B. O'Brien TANSTAAFL
                zwilnik@... Linux User #333216


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              • ALBERTO VIEIRA FERREIRA MONTEIRO
                ... The europeans are crazy. They don t know what to do, they add a lot of uncertainty to the economy with all those subsidies that come and go, taxes that
                Message 7 of 29 , Dec 3, 2012
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                  Klaus Stock wrote:
                  >
                  > Nope. In Germany, political reasons are the real reasons, not common
                  > sense.
                  >
                  The europeans are crazy. They don't know what to do, they add a lot of
                  uncertainty to the economy with all those subsidies that come and go,
                  taxes that come and go, and regulations that come and go.

                  Alberto Monteiro

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                • Dan Minette
                  I sent this to a single person instead of the list due to Killer B being changed (probably automatically) from the sender to a cc. I think this happened a
                  Message 8 of 29 , Dec 4, 2012
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                    I sent this to a single person instead of the list due to Killer B being
                    changed (probably automatically) from the sender to a cc. I think this
                    happened a couple of other times. I've gotten replies, but will not post
                    them, because they aren't my emails. But if the sender would, or would give
                    me permission to, that would be great.
                    In reply to Kevin, I wrote:

                    > The Chinese were extremely ham-handed about this. In particular,
                    > their stoppage of rare earth shipments in response to an incident
                    > involving their extrodinary claims to ocean territory (basically any
                    > territory claims of the Chinese over the last 1000 years are
                    > considered valid and enforceable by the the Chinese government)
                    > generated strong reaction. Given the fact that consumers rightfully
                    > believed that the Chinese were untrustworthy suppliers, as well as
                    > expensive ones, it was reasonable for them to sacrifice a little
                    > performance to switch to a more reliable and cheaper supply. The Chinese
                    overplayed their hand, as they have overall the last year.
                    >
                    > They can probably drive Western companies out of the solar cell business.
                    > Their entire ecconomic model, with artifically low value on their
                    > currency, and the disdaining of IP right of other countries, fits
                    > this. They may very well increase prices after becoming a near
                    > monopoly, but the alternatives are oil and gas and coal and wind.
                    > And, for certain remote applications, solar power actually works best.
                    >
                    > So, I'm guessing that it will not be the big win they see. But, they
                    > are caught at a GDP level where Huntington has pointed out that
                    > totalitarian goverments begin to get pushed by the growing middle
                    > class. Their reaction is to clamp down harder....especially with the
                    > new leadership, where all the leaders are both well filtered and the
                    > result of nepotism. It is a dangerous mixture. Putting this together
                    > with their demographic window of opportunity (the 1-child policy has a
                    > big demographic bubble that will be old in 20 years), a surplus of
                    > males, and one has a classic situation where countries become aggressive.
                    >
                    > We will be living in interesting times.
                    >
                    > Dan M.


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                  • Kevin O'Brien
                    ... And if the Chinese try to raise further, it only creates more incentives to look into alternatives. I think this may be one of the reasons why the Club of
                    Message 9 of 29 , Dec 4, 2012
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                      On 12/4/2012 9:02 AM, Dan Minette wrote:
                      > I sent this to a single person instead of the list due to Killer B being
                      > changed (probably automatically) from the sender to a cc. I think this
                      > happened a couple of other times. I've gotten replies, but will not post
                      > them, because they aren't my emails. But if the sender would, or would give
                      > me permission to, that would be great.
                      > In reply to Kevin, I wrote:
                      >
                      >> The Chinese were extremely ham-handed about this. In particular,
                      >> their stoppage of rare earth shipments in response to an incident
                      >> involving their extrodinary claims to ocean territory (basically any
                      >> territory claims of the Chinese over the last 1000 years are
                      >> considered valid and enforceable by the the Chinese government)
                      >> generated strong reaction. Given the fact that consumers rightfully
                      >> believed that the Chinese were untrustworthy suppliers, as well as
                      >> expensive ones, it was reasonable for them to sacrifice a little
                      >> performance to switch to a more reliable and cheaper supply. The Chinese
                      > overplayed their hand, as they have overall the last year.

                      And if the Chinese try to raise further, it only creates more incentives
                      to look into alternatives.

                      I think this may be one of the reasons why the Club of Rome predictions
                      failed (there are clearly numerous reasons). As an economist named
                      Hotelling pointed out early in the 20th century, there are good reasons
                      in economics to expect the prices of non-renewable resources to rise
                      over time at approximately the same rate as the interest rate. (I'm just
                      giving a simplified explanation here, see the Journal article if you
                      really like this sort of thing.) But any time a resource has rising
                      prices it creates incentives to look for substitutes, and the higher the
                      price, the higher the incentive. So a lot of products are no longer made
                      with steel, but with plastics or composites, for instance. The other
                      price obviously is to stimulate the search for new sources of supply.
                      Put those together and you can see why those predictions of disaster
                      have not materialized.

                      By similar reasoning, any attempt to monopolize a resource or product
                      can only succeed if there is some way of preventing and competitor from
                      entering the market. Most commonly this requires government action to
                      create and sustain the monopoly. Since that will not happen in the case
                      of rare earth elements, I doubt there can be a lasting monopoly problem
                      here. In a similar way, recall how the oil prices hikes of the 70s
                      turned into the price collapse of the 1980s as both fuel efficiency and
                      increased exploration responded ot the market price signals.

                      > They can probably drive Western companies out of the solar cell business.
                      > Their entire ecconomic model, with artifically low value on their
                      > currency, and the disdaining of IP right of other countries, fits
                      > this. They may very well increase prices after becoming a near
                      > monopoly, but the alternatives are oil and gas and coal and wind.
                      > And, for certain remote applications, solar power actually works best.
                      Well, they can drive them out, perhaps, but can they keep them out? One
                      of two things seems likely:

                      1. China creates a temporary monopoly, then tries to raise prices to
                      profit from it. See above for how market forces respond.

                      2. China creates a monopoly, then subsidizes solar panel producers
                      permanently to maintain that monopoly. And permanently low prices for
                      solar panels cause terrible devastation to the U.S. economy...Wait, that
                      doesn't quite make sense. I think I rather like low prices for solar
                      panels. And this could create a boom in low-cost, non-polluting energy
                      which only benefits us.

                      > So, I'm guessing that it will not be the big win they see. But, they
                      > are caught at a GDP level where Huntington has pointed out that
                      > totalitarian goverments begin to get pushed by the growing middle
                      > class. Their reaction is to clamp down harder....especially with the
                      > new leadership, where all the leaders are both well filtered and the
                      > result of nepotism. It is a dangerous mixture. Putting this together
                      > with their demographic window of opportunity (the 1-child policy has a
                      > big demographic bubble that will be old in 20 years), a surplus of
                      > males, and one has a classic situation where countries become aggressive.
                      OK, this is where my "economist" hat no longer gives me any particular
                      aid. I will say that indeed it will get interesting, but the factor that
                      is most likely to cause aggression on a large scale is water. That is in
                      short supply, unless we can access abundant cheap energy to desalinate
                      ocean water to make potable water.

                      Regards,

                      --
                      Kevin B. O'Brien
                      zwilnik@...
                      A damsel with a dulcimer in a vision once I saw.


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                    • Klaus Stock
                      Hi, ... Well, selling products at prices below below production cost and (aggressive) disdaining of IP right of other countries has happened before. So. China
                      Message 10 of 29 , Dec 4, 2012
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                        Hi,

                        >> Their entire ecconomic model, with artifically low value on their
                        >> currency, and the disdaining of IP right of other countries, fits
                        >> this.

                        Well, selling products at prices below below production cost and
                        (aggressive) disdaining of IP right of other countries has happened
                        before. So. China is imitating the past strategies of the western
                        countries. So what?


                        Some disturbing thoughts remain, though.

                        We in Germany pay high fuel taxes and are told to drive fuel-efficient
                        and clean vehicles. OTOH, Volkswagen still produces 1980s models in
                        China. This way, we take care that not are responsible for pollution
                        and excessive oil consumption, but the Chinese. Hooray?

                        - Klaus


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