'Energy Transition' Archive

Death to NIMBYism

May 15th, 2006 / Energy Transition / 4 comments

It's happening again. Environmentalists are opposing a renewable energy project. CNN chose to report the story this way: "Massive Wind Farm May Endanger Birds" What are they smoking? Let's ...

Praying for (Black) Rain

April 27th, 2006 / Energy Transition, Religion / 3 comments

It's obviously instinctual, because plenty of civilizations did it when they ran out of options. Well, now we are out of options, and people are praying for lower gas prices. ...

The ExternE project series

April 20th, 2006 / Energy Transition, Newswire / Comments Off on The ExternE project series

The ExternE project series

A-Jad Right About Oil Prices

April 19th, 2006 / Energy Transition / 1 comment

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has been on a verbal blitz offensive lately. You'd think he was deliberately trying to provoke the attack he fears on his country. It's all part ...

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

February 2nd, 2006 / Current Affairs, Energy Transition, Science / Comments Off on Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

OK George W. Bush, you've said something that I've been calling for for the past 5 years. You want to cut oil ...

How should we deal with Carbon?

January 10th, 2006 / Energy Transition / 15 comments

From the comments to my last entry, it's clear that there's no consensus among libertarians/individualists about the problem of carbon emissions. And there's a lot of opposition to any new ...

'Wasteful Driving'

November 17th, 2005 / Energy Transition / Comments Off on 'Wasteful Driving'

I'm a little jealous of those who live in cities with good public transportation. I live in California, however, and I must take issue with the idea of "wasteful driving". It's simply a fact of life here, and I think people in LA will always want their cars. Wasteful driving is basically driving you can't afford. And that varies greatly person-to-person. I see it as not only being how much money a person makes, but also the ratio of fuel cost to total cost of driving. EXAMPLE A:With an old clunker that gets 8mpg, filling the 25 gallon tank at $3.00/gallon might cost $75.00, one tenth of total price of the vehicle. Chances are that driver is probably not insured, doesn't make a lot of money, so they are very sensitive to the price of fuel. Their total cost of driving is in the range of $150/month. If the price went to $15.00/gallon in a worst-case peak oil scenario, their monthly cost of driving would be $750/month--probably equivalent to the value of the car. This person could clearly not afford to drive.

The Small Idea

November 9th, 2005 / Energy Transition / Comments Off on The Small Idea

Posted at salon.com in response to this story by John Horgan Progress in nearly every scientific and technological field continues its growth on a double-exponential curve (the rate of increase is increasing exponentially). This is documented in Ray Kurzweil's excellent book "The Singularity is Near," which reads like future history. What gives rise to this growth is continued scientific exploration at the small end of the physical spectrum (genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics). In approximately 2045, trends already in place for over a century will bring us to a convergence of intellect so stunning that it is impossible to predict what will happen after that. Humans may merge with their technology or launch off in entirely new directions. Either way, we will be millions of times smarter, and probably linked together in some sort of hyper-world-wide-web--Hence the term "Singularity."

CNN.com - SUV backover deaths: What can be done? - Nov 4, 2005

November 5th, 2005 / Energy Transition, Newswire / Comments Off on CNN.com - SUV backover deaths: What can be done? - Nov 4, 2005

CNN.com - SUV backover deaths: What can be done? - Nov 4, 2005 Literally adding insult to injury: SUVs cost more than twice the average car to drive, ...

Jevon's Paradox Revisited

October 19th, 2005 / Energy Transition / Comments Off on Jevon's Paradox Revisited

Many doomers point to Jevon's Paradox as proof that efficiency improvements don't matter, and that we are bound to run into absolute limits and then we're screwed. Therefore, they ...

Ray Kurzweil on Future Energy

October 18th, 2005 / Books, Energy Transition / 1 comment

Ray Kurzweil's new book, "The Singularity is Near" is a stunning compendium of future history. To those not familiar with Kurzweil's method, the book reads like far-fetched science fiction. In ...

Smart vs. Dumb Environmentalism

October 15th, 2005 / Energy Transition / 2 comments

Smart environmentalism is about trying to encourage sustainability, cradle-to-cradle design of products and services, preserving natural capital, and in general making the world a better place to live. Dumb environmentalism never met a new technology it trusted or liked. It throws up roadblocks to human progress in favor of other species. It makes emotional appeals about the death of nature and promotes all-or-nothing solutions. And it does not engage in effective cost benefit analysis.

World Tribune.com -- OPEC sees threat from 'alternative energy'

September 29th, 2005 / Energy Transition, Newswire / Comments Off on World Tribune.com -- OPEC sees threat from 'alternative energy'

World Tribune.com -- OPEC sees threat from 'alternative energy'

Learn the Lesson

September 21st, 2005 / Current Affairs, Energy Transition / Comments Off on Learn the Lesson

Epic storm Rita has not even played out, and already observers are predicting an even worse impact on oil production than little sister Katrina. We can only hope the good people of Texas will be spared a cataclysm this time. Whatever happens, cities and oil rigs are already preparing for the worst. Alert emergency teams are out in force, and we will probably escape the level of human tragedy and ineptitude seen earlier this month. But we should take a pause and realize that we have set ourselves up for these unfolding disasters:

Scientists: Cut Air Travel for Environment

September 21st, 2005 / Energy Transition, Newswire / Comments Off on Scientists: Cut Air Travel for Environment

Scientists: Cut Air Travel for Environment

Peak Oil Frequently Asked Questions

September 13th, 2005 / Energy Transition / Comments Off on Peak Oil Frequently Asked Questions

What solutions are best in the long run? Won't substituting for fossil fuels inevitably mean a lower net energy yield? At some point, aren't we bound to eventually dissipate earth's energy and mineral resources? Isn't it futile to try to grow our way out of this predicament? Don't we need to discuss other options? Can't we reduce our consumption? Isn't happiness to be found in consuming less?

Earth is Not a Closed System

September 9th, 2005 / Energy Transition / Comments Off on Earth is Not a Closed System

Deconsumption Nazis, shrill advocates of "peak-oil" induced collapse, and "die-off maniacs" have missed the point. So have the so-called "cornucopians." No rational person would assert that earth's resources are unlimited. But humans today are limited by our concepts and approaches as to what constitutes an effective solution to a problem. Most governments have chosen oil subsidies as their solution to almost everything. This has led to ever increasing technological efforts to extract more energy, faster. We are quickly approaching the limits to this type of growth. Oil production will peak sometime between now and 2014, depending on whose estimates you believe. World production will then begin an inexorable decline, much as U.S. production has declined since 1971. But the surface of the earth is not a closed system, so Malthusian arguments about the Second Law of Thermodynamics do not apply. The earth receives constant massive input from the Sun, which for any human purpose, is virtually unlimited. There is also a large amount of heat energy in the form of radioactive decay within the earth, which is again for all intents and purposes unlimited. Ocean temperature differentials, wind power, etc., etc., but they are all derivative of solar energy.