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Old 03-18-2015, 12:04 PM
 
3,720 posts, read 1,667,677 times
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Fossil Fuels Will Save the World (Really) - WSJ

"Fossil fuels will save the world"

An against the grain perspective with interesting factoids that don't get much coverage.

Selected quotes follow. I'll dispense with the quotation marks since they all are attributed to the article. I'm sorry it got so long, but a quick skim might be enlightening.

In 2013, about 87% of the energy that the world consumed came from fossil fuels, a figure that—remarkably—was unchanged from 10 years before.

The biggest contribution to decarbonizing the energy system has been the switch from high-carbon coal to lower-carbon gas in electricity generation.

The U.S.—the country with the oldest and most developed hydrocarbon fields—has found itself once again, surprisingly, at the top of the energy-producing league, rivaling Saudi Arabia in oil and Russia in gas.

..the frackers are currently experiencing their own version of Moore’s law: a rapid fall in the cost and time it takes to drill a well, along with a rapid rise in the volume of hydrocarbons they are able to extract.

So those who predict the imminent exhaustion of fossil fuels are merely repeating the mistakes of the U.S. presidential commission that opined in 1922 that “already the output of gas has begun to wane. Production of oil cannot long maintain its present rate.” Or President Jimmy Carter when he announced on television in 1977 that “we could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade.”

It is an ironic truth that no nonrenewable resource has ever run dry, while renewable resources—whales, cod, forests, passenger pigeons—have frequently done so.

Wind power, for all the public money spent on its expansion, has inched up to—wait for it—1% of world energy consumption in 2013. Solar, for all the hype, has not even managed that: If we round to the nearest whole number, it accounts for 0% of world energy consumption.

World-wide, the subsidies given to renewable energy currently amount to roughly $10 per gigajoule: These sums are paid by consumers to producers, so they tend to go from the poor to the rich, often to landowners..

But even if solar panels were free, the power they produce would still struggle to compete with fossil fuel—except in some very sunny locations—because of all the capital equipment required to concentrate and deliver the energy. This is to say nothing of the great expanses of land on which solar facilities must be built and the cost of retaining sufficient conventional generator capacity to guarantee supply on a dark, cold, windless evening.

To run the U.S. economy entirely on wind would require a wind farm the size of Texas, California and New Mexico combined—backed up by gas on windless days.

In that sense, fossil fuels were a unique advance because they allowed human beings to create extraordinary patterns of order and complexity—machines and buildings—with which to improve their lives.

In the case of the U.S., there has been a roughly 9,000% increase in the value of goods and services available to the average American since 1800, almost all of which are made with, made of, powered by or propelled by fossil fuels.

The next time that somebody at a rally against fossil fuels lectures you about her concern for the fate of her grandchildren, show her a picture of an African child dying today from inhaling the dense muck of a smoky fire.

..the use of coal halted and then reversed the deforestation of Europe and North America. The turn to oil halted the slaughter of the world’s whales and seals for their blubber. Fertilizer manufactured with gas halved the amount of land needed to produce a given amount of food, thus feeding a growing population while sparing land for wild nature.

Although the world has certainly warmed since the 19th century, the rate of warming has been slow and erratic. There has been no increase in the frequency or severity of storms or droughts, no acceleration of sea-level rise. Arctic sea ice has decreased, but Antarctic sea ice has increased. At the same time, scientists are agreed that the extra carbon dioxide in the air has contributed to an improvement in crop yields and a roughly 14% increase in the amount of all types of green vegetation on the planet since 1980.

As Patrick Michaels of the libertarian Cato Institute has written, since 2000, 14 peer-reviewed papers, published by 42 authors, many of whom are key contributors to the reports of the IPCC, have concluded that climate sensitivity is low because net feedbacks are modest.

If these conclusions are right, they would explain the failure of the Earth’s surface to warm nearly as fast as predicted over the past 35 years, a time when—despite carbon-dioxide levels rising faster than expected—the warming rate has never reached even two-tenths of a degree per decade and has slowed down to virtually nothing in the past 15 to 20 years.

The one thing that will not work is the one thing that the environmental movement insists upon: subsidizing wealthy crony capitalists to build low-density, low-output, capital-intensive, land-hungry renewable energy schemes, while telling the poor to give up the dream of getting richer through fossil fuels.
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Old 03-18-2015, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Looking over your shoulder
29,747 posts, read 26,775,195 times
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I’m always skeptical and consider any source of information. It’s good to know more about Matt Ridley who he is and who he represents in the world.


Quote:
Hydraulic fracturing

Ridley is a forthright proponent of fracking.[53] However he has been found to have breached the Parliamentary Code of Conduct by the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards for failing to disclose in debates on the subject personal interests worth at least £50,000 in Weir Group,[54] which has been described as, 'the world's largest provider of special equipment used in the process' of fracking.[55]

Matt Ridley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Matt Ridley's misguided climate change policy

The Fool's Gold of Current Climate

Ridley, Murdoch, and Lomborg Attempt to Greenwash Global Warming
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Old 03-18-2015, 01:53 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
1,392 posts, read 1,211,718 times
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The article is right at the end of the day. Fossil Fuels are cheap and have been around for decades globally so that is why people use them vs there competitors. As far as replacing fossil fuels go realistically using technology available today nuclear power can replace coal. In the US we had one movie that Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas played in about 3 mile island and then what happened at Chernobyl which was built with pretty much no safety standards at all and everyone stupidly overreacted and now when we could've been off of coal power decades ago using nuclear energy which would've been vastly cheaper compared to now we are instead wasting time with idiocy like windmills. We could be like France and go all nuclear energy within 20 years in the United States if it wasn't for the stupidity of the environmental movement shooting themselves in the foot opposing nuclear energy and the Democratic Party following them blindly like morons.

As far as environmental degradation in developing countries by use of fossil fuels that's because pf corruption in those nations. If they actually followed there own environmental standards they wouldn't have problems with pollution that they have.



Every environmental problem in that video was caused and/or allowed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Last edited by Oldhag1; 03-19-2015 at 12:34 AM.. Reason: Language
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Old 03-18-2015, 01:54 PM
 
3,720 posts, read 1,667,677 times
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He's mentioned in the article where he has interests in this or that. Generally, there isn't anyone who doesn't have interests or that: oil, solar, the academy.

I'm more interested in his facts, or assertions as the case may be. The uneconomicalness of solar, the continental scale of land area required by wind, the megafold increase in living standard fossil energy yielded as well as its ecological benefits.
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Old 03-18-2015, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Overland Park, KS
187 posts, read 171,466 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa1984 View Post
The article is right at the end of the day. Fossil Fuels are cheap and have been around for decades globally so that is why people use them vs there competitors. As far as replacing fossil fuels go realistically using technology available today nuclear power can replace coal. In the US we had one movie that Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas played in about 3 mile island and then what happened at Chernobyl which was built with pretty much no safety standards at all and everyone stupidly overreacted and now when we could've been off of coal power decades ago using nuclear energy which would've been vastly cheaper compared to now we are instead wasting time with idiocy like windmills. We could be like France and go all nuclear energy within 20 years in the United States if it wasn't for the stupidity of the environmental movement shooting themselves in the foot opposing nuclear energy and the Democratic Party following them blindly like morons.

As far as environmental degradation in developing countries by use of fossil fuels that's because pf corruption in those nations. If they actually followed there own environmental standards they wouldn't have problems with pollution that they have.
Out of our current technology, nuclear is definitely the best base-load generation fuel source available. It's clean, efficient, and safe. As far as cheap, that has to go to natural gas - which is why many utilities (in the USA at least) are vastly expanding their natural gas infrastructure.

Wind and solar will never be used for base-load generation. Even if you invented some form of mass-storage battery system to store all of that energy for still or cloudy days, the amount of real estate required for wind and solar farms is ridiculously large. Where will you build such large facilities? What will you do when you cannot generate base load, or need peaking power? I work in the power industry, tree-huggers and liberals often ask "why aren't you building wind or solar?" Even after explaining to them how the electrical grid works, they still don't understand and just continue to push the issue.

Renewable subsidies are what really drives this overboard. Government money - taxpayer dollars - have paid for a lot of failed or under-producing wind and solar projects. Some of these "green" companies got in while the getting was good, except the only green they cared about was money. This is why you can't throw money at things like carbon credits or climate change... but that's a debate for another day.

Last edited by Oldhag1; 03-19-2015 at 12:34 AM.. Reason: Edited quote
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Old 03-18-2015, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Looking over your shoulder
29,747 posts, read 26,775,195 times
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Respectfully, government money has been paid out to cleanup many areas of the country that have had problems. Nuclear contamination in southeast Washington state and three mile island are two that come to mind, also the coal ash from “clean” coal generating plants that get into our waterways and rivers. I realize nothing is perfect but I do want to drink water in the future and if we continue to contaminate our environment from drilling oil, mining coal, and fracking we’re certain to have more issues to deal with and some that can’t be corrected or turned around. IMHO
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Old 03-18-2015, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Someplace Wonderful
5,170 posts, read 3,726,329 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AksarbeN View Post
Respectfully, government money has been paid out to cleanup many areas of the country that have had problems. Nuclear contamination in southeast Washington state and three mile island are two that come to mind, also the coal ash from “clean” coal generating plants that get into our waterways and rivers. I realize nothing is perfect but I do want to drink water in the future and if we continue to contaminate our environment from drilling oil, mining coal, and fracking we’re certain to have more issues to deal with and some that can’t be corrected or turned around. IMHO
I presume when you mention te Washington stat nuclear accident, you are talking about HANFORD a long obsolete design. Hanford continues to be on of the icons of the anti nuke left. Did it ever occur to you that things have changed, that designs are improved? Let me guess.\

Moderator cut: off topic

Last edited by Oldhag1; 03-19-2015 at 12:36 AM..
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Old 03-18-2015, 04:44 PM
 
37,071 posts, read 38,273,370 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa1984 View Post

Every environmental problem in that video was caused and/or allowed by the Chinese Communist Party.
A great deal of the pollution you see in Chinese cities is the result of domestic heating, you need a lot of energy to keep more than 1 billion warm. The same issues existed in many western cities like London up until the 50's and 60's before they banned residential coal heating. Here in the US in particular cities in the east it was not an issue becsue of anthracite coal which does not produce soot when burned. Pittsburgh and surrounding areas would be an exception to that but only because of the steel mills using soft coal.
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Old 03-18-2015, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
1,392 posts, read 1,211,718 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AksarbeN View Post
Respectfully, government money has been paid out to cleanup many areas of the country that have had problems. Nuclear contamination in southeast Washington state and three mile island are two that come to mind,IMHO
Considering the fact I live by 3 mind island and everyone else who lives by 3 mile island aren't worried about 3 mile island and prefer nuclear energy over using coal for electricity generation this point is beyond weak. Nuclear energy is actually even cleaner then solar believe it or not. I would love to drop a link to the documentary Pandora's Promise but unfortunately it's not available in full for free on youtube so I won't be doing that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AksarbeN
also the coal ash from “clean” coal generating plants that get into our waterways and rivers.
Then promote nuclear power than.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AksarbeN
I realize nothing is perfect but I do want to drink water in the future and if we continue to contaminate our environment from drilling oil, mining coal, and fracking we’re certain to have more issues to deal with and some that can’t be corrected or turned around. IMHO
Then again promote Nuclear power. The only way to get off fossil fuels for electricity generation in the United States using existing technologies is switching to nuclear power. Wave Power is not able to do it. Geothermal maybe one day in the future 50 years might be able to. Solar and wind you can forget about because of how much land they require and the fact is they don't generate energy 24/7 which is what a developed nation needs.

Last edited by cwa1984; 03-18-2015 at 05:06 PM..
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Old 03-18-2015, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
1,392 posts, read 1,211,718 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianf408 View Post
Out of our current technology, nuclear is definitely the best base-load generation fuel source available. It's clean, efficient, and safe. As far as cheap, that has to go to natural gas - which is why many utilities (in the USA at least) are vastly expanding their natural gas infrastructure.
Nuclear would probably be cheaper in the United States than natural gas is right now if it wasn't for that stupid China Syndrome movie and Chernobyl causing the public to overreact out of fear and not think straight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brianf408
Wind and solar will never be used for base-load generation. Even if you invented some form of mass-storage battery system to store all of that energy for still or cloudy days, the amount of real estate required for wind and solar farms is ridiculously large. Where will you build such large facilities? What will you do when you cannot generate base load, or need peaking power? I work in the power industry, tree-huggers and liberals often ask "why aren't you building wind or solar?" Even after explaining to them how the electrical grid works, they still don't understand and just continue to push the issue.
It's because it's a religion to them. Essentially your asking them to give up there belief system they vote for wind and solar since they don't understand how unpractical they are in every way shape or form. Essentially we got a bunch of no nothing zealots influences US Energy policy in the United States. People keep going on and on about an energy crisis yet there isn't one in the world at all. It's a bunch of idiots just screaming that there is one because that is what the beliefs of there religion which is the current "environmental movement" states.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brainf408
Renewable subsidies are what really drives this overboard. Government money - taxpayer dollars - have paid for a lot of failed or under-producing wind and solar projects. Some of these "green" companies got in while the getting was good, except the only green they cared about was money. This is why you can't throw money at things like carbon credits or climate change... but that's a debate for another day.
Agreed. If people thought the great recession was bad pass cap and trade and see what happens when that house of cards collapses.

Last edited by cwa1984; 03-18-2015 at 05:08 PM..
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