[FoRK] Are you Malthusiastic? Re: Concrete results

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Jun 17 11:45:43 PDT 2013

On 6/17/13 4:38 AM, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> On Sun, Jun 16, 2013 at 02:39:38PM -0700, Stephen Williams wrote:
>>> Today the Bakken has at least 24,000,000,000 barrels of recoverable oil
>>> discovered so far.
>> What's that?  Innovation saves the day, again?  Why, I'm surprised!
> You should be surprised: http://www.theoildrum.com/search/apachesolr_search/bakken
> # Any future scenario involving the continuing indulgence or coddling of fossil fuel interests is delusional. Catastrophic climate 
> change is at the door. Even if our only issue were peak oil, it is already too late for a smooth "transition" or "energy 
> conservation." We are in a state of emergency and it is time to stop kidding ourselves about our plight, especially within the 
> well-informed but small peak oil / EROI / climate change / renewables community. More than ever, the world needs clear, honest, 
> deep understanding. The politicians and the business community will catch on only when we get real ourselves and "tell it like it 
> is."
> # Given the high risk of social disruption due to climate change, the only rational future for nuclear power (including nuclear 
> weaponry) is rapid decommissioning and secure sequestration. The last thing humanity needs is coastal nuclear power plants flooded 
> by sea level rise and on-river nuclear power plants running out of cooling water while marauders are out on the front lawns of the 
> nuclear industry custodians. Others may be in denial about this risk, but we need not indulge their fantasies of a nuclear 
> resurgence.

Perhaps we should stop making all nasty chemicals based on the same rationale?

> # That leaves us with only one sane course of action: demand destruction combined with renewables. Any challenges to high EROI 
> renewables carry the responsibility to find high EROI solutions. If batteries don't cut the mustard, then forget batteries. If the 
> main challenge is intermittency, then it is time for us to set the bar higher and put qualified intermittency engineers to work. 
> Many serious developers are working on low cost, high capacity, high round-trip efficiency storage. And they aren't wasting their 
> time on batteries. If trees can survive the night (/and/ winter even in Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia and Siberia), then so can humans.

> What's your plan B?

More innovation, of course.
Not malthusiastic.
Or perhaps just in time Malthusian: JITM.

On development time of nuclear reactors, I doubt there is a fundamental reason that it should take 20-30 years.  Many designs are 
relatively simple.  Assuming an urgent need, we need only relax safety scrutiny and add money & people to speed things up some 
numbers of magnitudes.


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