Ride the Future

Video Found At : Energy Bulletin

The Earth keeps turning, the Sun keeps burning, and the future will look a lot different than today as we drag down Carbon Dioxide emissions “by hook or by crook”.

We have to be wary of possible “crooks”. There are still technology “snake oil salesmen” out there, trying to impose Genetically Modified crops on us, or Nuclear Power, or Carbon Capture and Storage (to justify the continued use of Coal), and using the vehicle of science to push their wares :-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/agriculture/8048917/Climate-change-threatens-UK-harvest.html

“Climate change threatens UK harvest : Climate change could push up food prices by causing large-scale crop failures in Britain, the Met Office has warned. : By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent : Published: 08 Oct 2010 : Rising temperatures could mean events such as the drought in Russia this summer, which pushed up grain prices, hit countries like the UK. But they said the worst effects of climate change could be limited by investment in better farming and the development of new drought resistant or heat tolerant crops. This could be done by aid money, breeding and new technologies like genetic modification (GM)…”

http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/908/crop_failures_set_to_increase_under_climate_change

Look out for terms like “new crops”, “crop development” or “modified crops” :-

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101007092817.htm
http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/3/034012/

See the use of the word “biotechnology” in the actual research paper :-

http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/3/034012/pdf/1748-9326_5_3_034012.pdf

But, as everybody can probably guess, most farmers in the world will not be able to afford Genetically Modified crops, and anyway, nobody really yet knows if GM crops confer the benefits claimed – there is some evidence that “life scientists” don’t know the full range of effects on organisms from gene splicing.

Nuclear Power ? The promotion of new Nuclear Power has, to my mind, been a massive propaganda exercise on behalf of the world’s mining companies that want to stay in business digging up Uranium, even as wind turbines will be built from scrap steel, not new iron ore; and new cars will be built from recycled aluminium. Interestingly, the belief in the “bright future” offered by an undoubtedly costly, unreliable new fleet of Nuclear plant is waning, according to a “Crooks” who is actually quite reliable (note : search the headline in Go Ogle to read the article in full) :-

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ad15fcfe-bc71-11df-a42b-00144feab49a,dwp_uuid=8992c4a2-bc70-11df-a42b-00144feab49a.html

“Nuclear: New dawn now seems limited to the east : By Ed Crooks : Published: September 12 2010 : The renaissance of nuclear power is a much fabled beast that is often talked about but rarely seen. A new wave of construction of nuclear power stations, bringing to an end the lull in the industry since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, has been widely predicted for much of the past decade. Growing concerns about energy security and dependence on fossil fuels, combined with the fight against climate change, have prompted a resurgence of interest in nuclear power. In terms of intentions, at least, there is plenty of evidence of a revival. Worldwide, there are plans to build 149 reactors, and proposals for 344 more, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), the industry group. If all those projects went ahead, they would more than double the number of reactors in operation, which is about 440. However, many of the hopes and claims made for the nuclear renaissance have been excessive. Industry executives and analysts suggest most of those new reactors are unlikely to be built on their proposed schedules, if at all. The pace of development of reactor projects is slow in Europe, and even slower in the US. Any upturn in construction is happening in emerging economies, above all in China…”

http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2010/10/07/nuclear-again/

“(1) Nuclear power isn’t going away any time soon. Nuclear plants generate a lot of power and most of them seem likely to outlive their originally planned operational lifetime. So, there doesn’t seem to be much point in being “anti-nuclear” in the sense of hoping for a world without nuclear energy – that horse bolted decades ago.”

“(2) Except in China (and maybe India) nuclear power isn’t getting bigger any time soon. Following the failure of Obama’s energy bill and the GFC, the US “nuclear renaissance” is dead in the water, and the same is true in Europe. While residual anti-nuclear sentiment plays a role here, the big problem is economics.”

But it is in the field of mobility that we are most prone to being duped. The Tesla has just been subject to a product recall – can we rely on the promise of electricity-powered racing cars for everyone ?

Considering the real difficulties in replacing the vehicle fleet, either with lightweight, super-fuel-efficient one-person buggies, or with new electric roadsters, we should all consider our private transport of the future to be an (electricity-assisted) bicycle or moped.

For public transport, for long journeys, we could be reduced to expensive trains, or BioGas-driven coaches, operating in a huge new network. And for local hops in urban settings ? Biogas-powered tuk-tuks – powered by the fermented output from public toilets ?

4 thoughts on “Ride the Future”

  1. Louise Gray is not a scientist but simply a newspaper correspondent earning a living out of writing eye-catching articles about the environment. Dr Andy Challinor’s specialist area is in adaptation to the effects of weather events on crops, not in the area of global climate processes and drivers. Neither he nor the specialists in that area are able to predict what future global climates will be. All that they can do is speculate about this We can all speculate about what might happen but that won’t make it happen. The Met Office speculated that last winter would be warmer than usual in the UK but after we had the coldest and longest winter in years it decided not to bother speculating about the weather a few months ahead, hence has stopped trying

    Prediction of weather events beyond a few days is fraught with uncertainty while prediction of global climates using computer model projections is little better than asking a fortune-teller.

    Challinor and his ilk are capable of suggesting better ways for humans to continue doing what we have always had to do, adapt to whatever nature decides to throw at us. That is what his article is all about, “Increased crop failure due to climate change: assessing adaptation options using models and socio-economic data for wheat in China” (Note 1) He says in the abstract from his article “Tools for projecting crop productivity under a range of conditions, and assessing adaptation options, are an important part of the endeavour to prioritize investment in adaptation. .. The simulations show crop failure rates increasing under climate change, due to increasing extremes of both heat and water stress. Crop failure rates increase with mean temperature, with increases in maximum failure rates being greater than those in median failure rates. The results suggest that significant adaptation is possible through either socio-economic measures such as greater investment, or biophysical measures such as drought or heat tolerance in crops”.

    I doubt that many farmers will be surprised at that last bit, especially the older ones, who have seen warming and cooling in past decades. Of course, Challinor only talks about the effects of warming but that is essential to maintain a steady inflow of research funds. As we enter the coming cooling phase it is to be expected that funds will be much harder to attract – strike while the iron is hot so to speak..

    NOTES:
    1) see http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/3/034012

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  2. All I can say is continue to keep it up. This blog is really needed in the time when every person just wants to speak about how many people someones cheated on their wife with. I suggest, thanks for bringing intelligence back again towards the net, its been sorely missed. Excellent material. Please continue to keep it returning!

  3. Rose, instead of making ludicrous generalised comments like “every person just wants to speak about how many people someones cheated on their wife”. You must be reading a very restricted set of blogs. Are you aware of the disgusting 10:10 video about blowing up children and footballers who do not support the UN-inspired scam about our use of fossil fuels leading the globe towards catastrophic changes to its climates? (see http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100057873/1010s-no-pressure-exploding-kids-campaign-why-it-was-such-a-success/). This went viral on the Internet so how on earth did you miss it!

    Although I totally disagree with Jo on two of her beliefs (about “significant human-made global climate change” and “a benevolent super-power) I admire her preparedness to debate openly in her own name rather than hide behind a false or incomplete one.

    Perhaps you’d be kind enough to advise what it is that you consider Jo has done to “bringing intelligence back again towards the net” and what the “Excellent material” is. You must have spotted something in Jo’s articles and comments thast I have missed, as I don’t see that Jo is saying anything different to what numerous other religious environmentalists have been saying throughout the 3 ½ years that I have been blogging.

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

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