Friday, June 25, 2010

Is Obama's energy policy on the right track?

President Obama has an energy policy that is directed towards developing renewable energy to replace that of fossil fuels. Is this a sensible way to go?

The policy is based on the idea that the supply of petroleum will soon be exhausted. Is this true? Is the “Theory of Peak Oil” correct? The peak seems to shift from one decade to the next, as new technology is applied.

Where does all the present oil come from? 200 years ago there was none to be seen, whereas today it appears to be almost everywhere in abundance.
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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"The mythology of renewable energy"

Renewable energy is that which is conveniently replaced by Nature, such as wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and crops for biofuels. This is in contrast to normal energy derived from fossil fuels, such as oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy derived from uranium, all of which we dig up or drill for, and within a few decades the deposits may become exhausted, hence they are considered nonrenewable.

Myths abound with both types of energy and it is difficult for the layman to sift the wheat from the chaff. Scientists, businessmen and politicians have the same problem of distinguishing fact from fiction. Many people have bandwagons to pursue which may involve supporting some eco-religion or business plan to make money, irrespective of whether the underlying science is false or dodgy.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"The future of the coal industry"

...... Coal was fascinating stuff to me as a small boy. It helped develop my first interest in geology and 20 years later I graduated as a geologist. I liked building and fueling our house coal fires because it allowed me to inspect the lumps of coal which came from the distant Huntly coal field of Oligocene Age (ca. 40 million years ago).

My rock and mineral collection became enriched with specimens of fossil ferns and other leaves and plant debris, fossil gum or amber, and of pyrite and calcite crystal formations.

Those were the good old days when coal was a respected valuable fuel and everybody loved it. Today we are confronted with a conspiracy against the coal industry led by the Green movement and those politicians of both left and right, who foolishly embrace the Green anti-carbon belief system in order to win elections.

When there are two equally dominant political parties (e.g., USA, Democrat and Republican; Australia, Labor and Liberal) you can’t afford to offend the Greens by telling them they are barking mad or you will lose the election! The Chinese do not have this problem and will soon overtake the US as the world’s largest economy.

Without fully utilizing one’s coal resources the US economy will stagnate and decline whereas the Chinese economy will continue to expand and prosper.
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Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Abrupt climate changes possible"

Foto: Lago Atitlan in Guatemala

Yes, abrupt climate change is possible and fairly common if you study the historical and geological record of the earth.

........The prize for the largest super volcanic eruption goes to the La Garita eruption in the San Juan Mountains of SW Colorado, USA, some 29 million years ago. About 1,200 cubic miles of debris was scattered over the adjacent region, together with similar large explosions within a few million years.

Tourist regions of note that have developed around caldera lakes include the beautiful Lago Atitlan in the NW highlands of Guatemala. This super volcanic eruption occurred 84,000 years ago ejecting 300 cubic kms of tephra and leaving a caldera lake measuring 7 to 17 kms across, now surrounded by a number of more recent dormant and smoking volcanic cones.

The most recent super volcanic eruption happened a mere 1800 years ago (ca 186 AD) in New Zealand with an enormous explosion in the center of the North Island ejecting ca 110 cubic kms of ash and pumice. What is left is a caldera lake (Lake Taupo) of size about 30 kms across, now stocked with rainbow trout, and has become a famous tourist region. Fortunately no humans beings were there at the time of this eruption (one of many) , since the first Polynesian migration by outrigger canoe occurred about 1100 AD.

There are many conclusions that can be drawn from this brief overview of abrupt climate changes that have occurred in the recent and distant past.

Firstly, .......
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"How serious is global warming"

Global warming is a non-problem. We don’t have to worry about global warming, therefore it is not of serious concern to mankind.

There is no shortage of real problems that confront us. We should be concentrating our efforts on the real problems instead of wasting our resources and research funds on the futile idea of “stopping global warming” or “stopping climate change” all of which is eco-religious nonsense. For starters we could provide clean drinking water for everybody in the world and try eliminate poverty.... but returning to global warming.

Global warming is a good thing. It happens every day when the sun rises above the horizon. I like it and so do all human beings if they have to choose between being very cold or comfortably warm. Fortunately our globe, or planet Earth, provides a wide range of climates for us to live in, broadly classified as cold, temperate and tropical. Human beings prefer by far to live in a warm climate .....
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Friday, April 16, 2010

Debate: "Can the US confront global warming without adding more nuclear power?"

I have voted NO for the reason that the US needs more reliable base-load electricity generation such as provided by nuclear and coal-fired power stations, if it wants to further its economic development.

The alternative, which is not to do so, will inevitably lead to economic stagnation and decline. The US will then no longer be the world leader in technological development, although its military power will remain substantial, but ineffective.

Historically, it seems that some privileged nation states have their day in the sun and inevitably decline from being "top dog" for a certain period. For example we have the Roman Empire (ca 100 AD) and the British Empire in the recent past. The USA has been a powerful world leader since the end of World War 2, but its future dominance is doubtful.

The reason for the present decline of US world influence can be ascertained by examining the Helium title "Can the US confront global warming without adding more nuclear power".
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Reflections: Pipe and cigar smoking"

.... The rise of the British Empire from the Industrial Revolution until its peak in 1950 coincides with the acceptance of tobacco smoking. Prime Ministers and diplomats were depicted holding their favorite pipe whereas captains of industry savoured their cigars. Then we were in safe hands, unlike today, where Prime Ministers must be seen outside a church and lesser politicians to be riding bicycles. No longer are there smoke-filled rooms where our leaders can plan policies or brilliant market deals.

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Are we really reaching peak oil?

Peak oil is the term given to that point in time when the world's production of petroleum starts to decline due to gradual depletion of oil fields.
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Are fossil fuels causing increased global warming and health issues?

This is the cause and effect problem: Activity A causes result B, which we don't like, so therefore we ban, or discourage activity A, by imposing taxes on it. This is a favorite pastime of politicians. They spend all their time doing it.
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How to meet our energy needs

The USA has a self-inflected energy crisis by allowing itself to become bogged down by the Democrat government bureaucracy and is stymied at every turn by Green Shackles.