Re: Global warming, population, nuclear power

Robert Harley (
Fri, 2 May 1997 12:14:33 +0200 (MET DST)

Jim wrote:
>In other words, I don't believe you, and for want of any better ammunition,
>I'll make attacks on your sources. Very scientific. All you've done is
>attack one assertion I made which I couldn't back up, and now you're
>throwing out the entire argument?
>[...filibuster waffle...]

I don't think you get it.

If you (and other like-minded people) made assertions that were out by
a factor of two, that would be fine. Heck what's a factor of ten
between friends?

But you were wrong a a factor of many tens of thousands. You lose.
You fucked up so badly that you have no credibility whatsoever (on
this topic) and no amount of flustered justification can undo that.

Suppose we were talking about high-jumping and I claimed that somebody
jumped 70 miles high. Or about trains and I said the TGV goes at 3000
miles per second. Or whatever. Would you lend any credence to any
far-out claims I made no matter how passionately? I don't think so.
At best you might humour me. "I'll have to check my sources". Yeah
right, go do that.

>The large number of contributors from many regions of the Earth should
>convince you this isn't just another cabal of left-wing American academics.

(I know it is not such a cabal). Truth doesn't care about what
respected authorities pontificate or the number of people who believe
or how much media attention it gets. Just because a very widely
circulated book claimed that Methuselah lived to be 969 years never
made it so. That unquestioning people believed it is irrelevant.
That popes, rabbis, patriarchs and so on said it doesn't matter. And
if Jim claims he lived for five million years, that is of no concern.

[I'll humour you 'cause this might turn into a fun flame-war :]

>In [1] (1991) it is reported that, "With a self-sustaining solar energy
>system replacing our current dependence on fossil energy, the energy
>availability would be one-fifth to one-half the current level. [...]

Bit-free statement. What system?

>Another study [2] (1994), reported that if Americans cut their energy use
>in half, and had a population of 200 million, and recycle resources
>effectively, then their energy needs could be satisfied by capturing all
>the solar energy incident on about 900,000 square kilometers of land [...]

Wait, so 10% of the land would produce enough electricity for USA-ans?
Why does that seem to contradict the previous two claims?

>[...] total worldwide commercial energy production
>in 1989 was approximately 295 quads [...]

The 900000 km^2 mentioned above, if they collected 10% of the solar energy
reaching the ground during summer days would produce more than that.

It's easy to make up or quote impressive sounding figures. By all
means go right ahead. I hope you enjoy it. But don't try to initiate
policies based on them and paid for with our tax dollars/francs/...

-- Wascally Wub.
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