The EPA's Science Problem

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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby cartervj » Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:45 pm

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/04/21/Study--Fuels-from-corn-waste-not-better-than-gas


WASHINGTON (AP) — Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration's conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.

A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and released Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline.
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby dudejcb » Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:51 pm

cartervj wrote:http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/04/21/Study--Fuels-from-corn-waste-not-better-than-gas


WASHINGTON (AP) — Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration's conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.

A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and released Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline.

Good work Carter. Now, can you tell me who's big idea and program this was? I'll give you a hint: he likes to paint pictures of world leaders that don;t look very life-like, and lives in Texas. His wife was once a librarian, but her name wasn't Marian.
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby cartervj » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:05 pm

You kinda missed paid for by the Feds, and was peer reviewed.

Sorry it doesn't fit your liberal agenda. :loll: :lol3: :lol3:

years back it was pointed out that the carbon footprint to make biofuels is much larger than just extracting petroleum from oil

don't forget you loose MPGs from biofuels
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby cartervj » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:08 pm

Hey, maybe you can get the heavy hand of the BLM to visit that fellow you mention. :lol3:
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby cartervj » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:12 pm

Reality Bites

http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/11/03/blood-and-gore-making-a-killing-on-anti-carbon-investment-hype/

And Regarding those “Competitive” Renewable Alternatives…

Gore and Blood urge that “Investors should pressure executive teams to divert cash flow away from capital expenditures on developing fossil fuels [which have embedded carbon risks] and toward more productive uses in the context of a transition to a low -carbon economy.” Instead, they urge that portfolios be tilted towards assets with low or no carbon emissions which provide opportunities to capitalize on emerging solutions such as energy generation (e.g., solar, wind, geothermal). This, they argue, can help to avoid pitfalls of “carbon stranding” due to market influences of renewable technologies which they claim “are already economically competitive with fossil fuels in a number of countries without subsidies.”

Really? And which renewable technologies and countries might those be?


Europe’s green energy debacles offer teachable lessons for investors everywhere. Slightly more than 12% of Germany’s electricity comes from “renewables”: 7.8% now comes from wind, 4.5% from solar, 7% from biomass, and 4% from hydro. Meanwhile, German households pay the second highest power costs in Europe… as much as 30% more than other Europeans. Only the Danes pay more, and both countries pay roughly 300% more for residential electricity than we Americans do.

Speaking at a June 12 energy conference in Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel called for scaling back renewable energy subsidies to contain spiraling costs. She warned: “If the renewables surcharge keeps rising like it did in recent years, we will have a problem in terms of energy supply.”

Yet despite huge investments, German wind has produced only about one-fifth of its rated installed capacity. And while half a dozen wind farms are still being built in the North Sea, there are no follow-up contracts due to high consumer utility rates. Ironically, since shutting down some of their older nuclear plants in response to the nuclear accident in Japan, they now have to import nuclear power from France and the Czech Republic.

If romance with increasing reliance upon renewables isn’t being strained enough by painful electricity costs, power blackouts are adding to buyer’s remorse. The German energy industry group BDEW warns that the surge of renewables is increasingly clogging the power grid operational efficiency.

A 2009 study reported by CEPOS, a Danish think tank, found that while wind provided 19% of Denmark’s electricity generation, it only met an average 9.7% of the total load demand over a five year period, and a mere 5% during 2006. Since Denmark can’t use all the electricity it produces at night, it exports about half of its extra supply to Norway and Sweden where hydroelectric power can be switched on and off to balance their grids. Still, even with those export sales, high government wind subsidies cause Danish customers to pay the highest electricity rates in Europe.

In 2011, U.K. wind turbines produced energy at about 21% of rated installed capacity (again, not demand capacity). And this was during “good” wind conditions. As in Germany, unreliability in meeting power demands has necessitated importation of nuclear power from France. Also similar to Germany, the government is closing some of its older coal-fired plants–any one of which can produce nearly twice more electricity than all of Britain’s 3,000 wind turbines combined.


In Australia, a resounding September right-of-center Liberal Party defeat of the Green Party-backed Labor Party following its six years in power reflected a rude public awakening. It was broadly recognized to be a referendum victory to dismantle and consolidate the myriad anti-carbon global warming-premised schemes spawned under the previous government.
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby cartervj » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:15 pm

another little tidbit :lol3:

There can be no doubt that they have found a strong advocate for these strategies in the current White House. The Small Business Administration estimates that compliance with such regulations costs the U.S. economy more than $1.75 trillion per year — about 12%-14% of GDP, and half of the $3.5 trillion Washington is currently spending.

Still, the U.S. Government Accounting Office can’t figure out what benefits taxpayers are getting from those many billions of dollars spent each year on policies that are purportedly aimed at addressing climate change. A May 2011 GAO report noted that while annual federal funding for such activities has been increasing substantially, there is a lack of shared understanding of strategic priorities among the various responsible agency officials. This assessment agrees with the conclusions of a 2008 Congressional Research Service analysis which found no “overarching policy goal for climate change that guides the programs funded or the priorities among programs.”
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby dudejcb » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:44 pm

The best thing we can do for energy is learn to use less and make high efficiency buildings and (industrial) combined heat and power part of our energy infrastructure. Insulate and air seal our buildings, convert to quality LED lighting systems (LED costs are falling fast, but I DO NOT recommend anyone buy LEDs at COSTCO made by Feit Electric), if you need a new air conditioner get one with a scroll compressor that has load following capability, and for heating get a fully condensing natural gas system or a heat pump.

As far as renewables go I think the science isn't quite there yet for producing methane from grasses, but that's probably the best solution as it has some major benefits. The root system sequesters lots of carbon, the grasses need no irrigation or fertilizer and grow in marginal soils. The the best part IMO: the grasses provide nesting and cover for birds, waterfowl, etc.

Solar is okay as it's peak coincident but it requires lots of glass cleaning and acreage, and is (I believe) probably a liability when it comes to hail, especially large hail episodes.

I prefer nuclear to coal, but we still have not solved the long term (and I mean really long term) storage problem. It also uses a lot of water and concrete (concrete is very energy intensive).

BTW: if you're thinking of insulating, polyisocyanurate foam is the way to go. It air seals and insulates. Fiberglass batting dos not air seal, and if the installation is not perfect (cuts around electrical boxes and pipes must be very accurate and no compressions) it loses 20- to 30% of it's insulation value.

If you want to know more about building science go to BuildingScience.com or Google Joe Lstriburek. Much of his work was funded by either DOE or EPA so it's free to the public. Joe is a kick and a Mechanical Engineering PHd.
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby SpinnerMan » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:05 am

dudejcb wrote:The best thing we can do for energy is learn to use less and make high efficiency buildings and (industrial) combined heat and power part of our energy infrastructure.
How does that reduce energy use? This is a serious question.

If my combined electric, gas, etc., energy bills are $5,000 per year and I reduce it to $4,000 per year. What will I do with that extra $1,000 per year? Spend it on something that consumes energy, will I not? Now what I might do is turn the air up in the summer and the furnace up in the winter.

True energy efficiency makes energy more valuable. Simple economics tells us that when the price stays the same and the value rises, demand rises.

It is not clear if the net impact will be positive or negative.

However, regardless. No matter how efficient we become, the only way to prevent a HUGE increase in energy demand is to prevent the rest of the world from improving their lives economically. If we cut our demand 50% and China rises to that level as well, that is a huge increase in energy demand.

In 2011, the world used 77 MBTU per capita, while the U.S. used 310 MBTU per capita. The U.S. has actually declined because we have done those things. It was 360 MBTU per capita in 1973.

If the world rises to 50% of the U.S. average, that means world energy demand more than doubles. Does anyone really think we can get to 50%? :lol3: :no: My guess is we will start to grow again because the efficiency gains that were easy in the last few decades have been done.

Now that doubling is without ANY population growth. The doubling time of the world population is currently at about 45 years. So that means another doubling of energy demand in the next half century if that holds.

We need to figure out how to produce massive amounts of energy in an environmentally benign way. We have gotten much better across the board, but we need a huge pile no matter what. Sure efficiency is nice, but we need a crapload of energy even if efficiency exceeds our wildest dreams. Or we need to keep the rest of the world in poverty.
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby ScaupHunter » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:49 am

The world is not going to survive the human population doubling every 45 years. Mother nature, war, famine, diseases will take care of a lot of our population problems sooner or later. The idea that we can breed like rats and survive the practice is laughable at best.
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby huntmmup » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:53 am

This just came out, kind of crazy that they say fracking is a good idea, but hey. Why not give this a try? Spend 0.06% and see what happens, that's probably less than the subsidies big oil gets. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ ... -report-un
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby dudejcb » Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:30 am

SpinnerMan wrote:
dudejcb wrote:The best thing we can do for energy is learn to use less and make high efficiency buildings and (industrial) combined heat and power part of our energy infrastructure.
How does that reduce energy use? This is a serious question.
I think you know the answers. Preventing energy inefficiency or waste is energy conservation ... for other uses or use at a later date. Our buildings allow an awful lot of heat and cold to escape the (building) envelope.

Traditional (thermal) electricity productions wastes most of the heat produced, but combined cycle plants are the exception. Unfortunately, the utility business model rewards utilities for "prudent" investment in infrastructure. This means there is an incentive for spending more on stand alone power plant construction as opposed to building industrial parks that feature power plants that distribute steam for industrial processes rather than using cooling towers to exhaust heat to the atmosphere.

You know this already don't you.
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby beretta24 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:37 am

huntmmup wrote:This just came out, kind of crazy that they say fracking is a good idea, but hey. Why not give this a try? Spend 0.06% and see what happens, that's probably less than the subsidies big oil gets. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ ... -report-un

And the only way that's possible is via a massive wealth transfer. You think the kids making shoes in China are going to be able to afford solar panels for their roof? You think the family of 5 who's providers are an cashier and a bus driver are going to be able to afford a prius?
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby huntmmup » Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:48 am

Um, I dont think they are saying poor kids in China will have to buy solar panels and people need to buy Priuses, I think theyre saying things like replace coal power plants with natural gas, nuclear, large scale solar and stuff like that.
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby SpinnerMan » Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:58 am

ScaupHunter wrote:The world is not going to survive the human populatoin doubling every 45 years. Mother nature, war, famine, diseases will take care of a lot of our population problems sooner or later. The idea that we can breed like rats and survive the practice is laughable at best.

Not indefinitely, but for a long damn time if we have the energy to do so and I'm quite confident that physically we have enough.

The real danger is the same as always. Government screwing it up in the effort to make it better.

huntmmup wrote:This just came out, kind of crazy that they say fracking is a good idea, but hey. Why not give this a try? Spend 0.06% and see what happens, that's probably less than the subsidies big oil gets. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ ... -report-un

While I think that number is quite optimistic on impact of economic growth as well as the harm that results from lower growth. Don't forget that that 0.06% is compounded. It sounds small, it is not, and over time it gets bigger and bigger because it compounds. That 0.06% is the labor from millions of people being diverted. You have to compare the value of what that effort would have done otherwise and compare the two.

Also, what do they show in the picture versus what do they include in the report?

Image
The report includes nuclear power as a mature low-carbon option, but cautions that it has declined globally since 1993 and faces safety, financial and waste-management concerns. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) – trapping the CO2 from coal or gas burning and then burying it – is also included, but the report notes it is an untested technology on a large scale and may be expensive.


I was just at a meeting where a guy who does this for a living made presentations on this kind of thing. One scenario they look at is a 450 ppm limit, essentially the 2C limit they refer to in the article. The energy is not coming in large part from wind and solar. Sure they are bigger shares, but there are huge issues deploying intermittent non-dispatchable power supplies like wind and solar. Even in the U.S. at current levels there are regions where these sources have reached the point where they are causing havoc. Once they reach a certain point, you need a 1 to 1 backup. That means for every GWe of capacity deployed, you must deploy 1 GWe of back up capacity. You literally have to build double what you need. In some places where you can take advantage of pumped storage (the only effective battery for this scale of energy storage), you can get your backup that way. However, for most of the planet, that is not a viable option so you need a dispatchable power supply as the backup such as natural gas, which is the preferred choice by far and in a CO2 constrained world like that, you also have to include the cost of sequestering the CO2. The cost of all these things is simply UNKNOWN! Therefore, you have to take that estimate with a big grain of salt. I honestly believe there is probably a factor of 2 uncertainty in the cost of energy in such a highly constrained carbon future. Largely because many of the technologies may never be deployable on the scale and at the cost anticipated in these calculations. Even wind and solar are running into many issues as they expand and they are currently very limited.

I'm quite sure that was much more wishful thinking than a solid estimate of the base case / worst case analysis.
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby beretta24 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:46 am

huntmmup wrote:Um, I dont think they are saying poor kids in China will have to buy solar panels and people need to buy Priuses, I think theyre saying things like replace coal power plants with natural gas, nuclear, large scale solar and stuff like that.

Read it closer, there appears to be a heavy reliance on nuclear. I'll support that part, but large scale solar doesnt make sense to me.
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby nitram » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:36 pm

What about all of the heat produced by these 'mirror farms'?
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby SpinnerMan » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:04 pm

nitram wrote:What about all of the heat produced by these 'mirror farms'?

In every serious study on the subject I have seen, they are practically negligible.

Those mirror farms produce 0 GWe at night, every night, 365 days per year. A minimum of half of the year, every year, they produce exactly zero power. People like power at night. Factories like to run at night. For the other half of the year, they very rarely produce their full rated capacity. Even in the ideal locations with clear skies for most of the year, they produce little power until the sun gets fairly high in the sky and the power falls off again. People like to turn the lights on when they get up in the morning, factories even if running just one shift like to turn the equipment on early in the morning, all periods when those mirrors are producing little power.

With a small fraction of power coming from those mirrors, there is some correlation with demand, but once they get beyond a pretty small fraction, they require 1 to 1 backup, which is very expensive and if it is not some form of energy storage, which is not practical, so a large fraction of the energy will be produced by the power plant that is needed to compensate for when it is not the middle of the day on clear days. So even if 100% of your peak power comes from solar, when night, clouds, the sun low in the sky, etc., you probably still get well over half the energy from the backup. Then when you take into account that there are a lot of places where the solar will produce even less of its potential than deserts in latitudes closer to the equator, the fraction goes down much further. Then if you factor in the cost, it goes to near negligible. It's like the blue bins. It's about making people feel good, no matter how little it does or how much it costs.
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby Rat Creek » Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:59 pm

If we could get the enviro-activists in Big Gov out of the equation, the free market would utilize all of the above. The methods that are the most efficient and cost effective would carry the burden, and that would not remain static, but would change with technology and innovation. The biggest impediment to this is Big Gov.
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby dudejcb » Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:31 pm

nitram wrote:What about all of the heat produced by these 'mirror farms'?

They don't produce heat. They concentrate radiant heat already produced by the sun that would've heated the ground had they not reflected it to their target.

That said, I think a good sand or hail storm could be problematic.
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby nitram » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:30 pm

"Since coming online last year, and even in the preliminary testing, dozens of dead birds have been found surrounding the Ivanpah (California) solar power plant, which uses a five-square-mile array of mirrors to reflect sunlight to boilers mounted on three 40-story high towers. The temperatures around the towers reportedly can reach 1,000 degrees, which is enough to cook any size bird unfortunate enough to fly through the area. All this to create just enough electricity to light 140,000 homes a year at a cost of $2.2 billion. Most of that came from a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee, which means taxpayers are on the hook for three Solyndras here. A sure sign of exorbitant expense: utilities that are purchasing the power from Ivanpah aren’t releasing the cost of their 25-year deals."

I remember this Bloomberg article from a couple of months ago. 'tis the only reason I asked.....
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby SpinnerMan » Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:46 am

dudejcb wrote:That said, I think a good sand or hail storm could be problematic.

I've been through a lot of pretty nasty hail storms. While I've seen on TV hail storms that damage glass, I've never been in one. They are very localized events, so I actually don't think that is much of a risk.

Clouds are a big threat. It shuts them down in a hurry. Granted not permanently, but think about that. A cloudy days is all you need to take your plant down.

A lot of the risk from these plants is dust. Not damaging the mirrors, but simply that they need to be cleaned frequently and climbing around in high places is dangerous and given that they have a lot of cleaning to do for every GWe-yr of energy produced, this loss of life is not trivial.

If they can get the cost down, they have their niches. They just are not a big contributor. If we can make hydrogen production more cost effective, their value will rise substantially and that niche expands quite a bit. There are other possibilities along those lines, but as a major contributor to electricity, they are terrible for so many reason.
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby Rat Creek » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:10 pm

nitram wrote:"All this to create just enough electricity to light 140,000 homes a year at a cost of $2.2 billion. Most of that came from a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee, which means taxpayers are on the hook for three Solyndras here. "


If I did the math right, that is $15,700 per house per year. Well, that sounds like a great deal. $1300+ per month utility cost :eek:

But I can tell all my friends that I am doing my part to save the planet and vaporize birds with a death star. :hi:
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby nitram » Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:08 pm

Remember Rat, disregard the results as the intentions are all that counts.
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby cartervj » Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:25 pm

they're all about touchy feely and not about facts
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Re: The EPA's Science Problem

Postby High Sierras » Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:06 am

huntmmup wrote:Any greenhouse gas we are releasing. The only question is how much we should be concerned.

Since the only two real things we know for sure are that greenhouse gases cause temperature increase and we're releasing greenhouse gases, all we need to do is try to stop releasing greenhouse gases. If we dont I dont think anything catastrophic is going to happen like a lot of scientists are saying, but I dont get why we shouldn't try. Even if there's just a tiny tiny chance scientists are right, we should try. Really we should try to stop releasing all chemicals into the environment any time its practial, and if it isn't practical we should try and make technologies that will make it practical.

huntmmup wrote:... the only things we know for sure are greenhouse gases cause temperatures to go up, and we're releasing greenhouse gases, then we should definitely start preparing and take practical steps to reduce emissions. Practical steps not crazy steps.

If they're right, we'll be ok, because we took practical steps to reduce emissions. If you're right, we'll be ok, because we didn't go crazy and tax the heck out of everyone for an imaginary problem.

Great! Practical steps, seems reasonable. Let's start with the largest user of fossil fuels (and thus the largest single producer of greenhouse gases) on the planet, China.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/datablog/2010/aug/03/us-china-energy-consumption-data

How about all the greenies, tree huggers, global warmers and environmentalists go over there and have a great big Occupy-Tiananmen-Square rally and see if they can get the Chinese to slit their economic jugular vein like we’re doing to our own economy with the EPA. Because until you can get them and India on board, we could cut the US production of greenhouse gasses to ZERO, all go back to living without refrigeration or air conditioning, ride horses and stop watering our lawns... and still not make a significant dent in the amount of greenhouse gasses the world spews out.

So the "practical steps to save the planet" is really a nice way to say let's continue crippling the US economy with pointless regulations about emissions and jacking up the price of energy that our economy depends on, while not really doing anything to effect "anthropogenic climate change". Brought to you by the progressive left (democrat) fringe... the same folks who also say the US does not deserve to have such a high standard of living. I wonder if they have another agenda in mind with that whole 'cripple the US economy' idea. I mean, other than saving the polar bears & ice caps and all.




dudejcb wrote:The best thing we can do for energy is learn to use less and make high efficiency buildings and (industrial) combined heat and power part of our energy infrastructure. Insulate and air seal our buildings, convert to quality LED lighting systems (LED costs are falling fast, but I DO NOT recommend anyone buy LEDs at COSTCO made by Feit Electric), if you need a new air conditioner get one with a scroll compressor that has load following capability, and for heating get a fully condensing natural gas system or a heat pump.

Again, applying this to the largest user of energy in the world would be the simplest to enact and have the greatest results. Dude, can you please head on over to China and ask them to start learning to use less energy? Ask them to become energy independent? Just tell Xi Jinping he needs to start insulating Bejing with better insulation and non-Costco LED lights. Global warming solved.

http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/13/as-u-s-aims-for-energy-independence-china-heads-the-opposite-way/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0#

On a side note… what have you got against Feit electric brand LED’s? Are they Mormon-owned or non-union or something? Or do they create more greenhouse gases than other bulbs?

dudejcb wrote:I prefer nuclear to coal, but we still have not solved the long term (and I mean really long term) storage problem. It also uses a lot of water and concrete (concrete is very energy intensive).

Never heard of Yucca Mountain? Two and a half THOUSAND FEET below ground encapsulated in a water tight salt dome deposit where every bit of nuke waste the US has created in the last 65-plus-years could have sat unmolested for thousands of years under the wastes of Nevada. And even if it did leak… remember, it’s Nevada. We tested hundreds of thermonuclear bombs out there for decades, and for all intents and purposes no one can tell where the bombs went off. It was a wasteland before we nuked it and it’s still a wasteland. Who cares if three-eyed-frogs start showing up out there?
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