Global Warming and Reefs
cbingman at netcom.com
Tue Nov 17 22:16:27 EST 1998
I wsn[t going to write anything further on this, but as it turns out, the
fate of reefs may be linked to our decisions regarding energy production.
> We agree on the immense challenges posed by global warming and the
> dependence on fossil fuels, but I don't understand why you seem to think
> that the only solution is to go nuclear.
I'm open to viable alternatives. Hydro power has been saturated in the
US for decades. More power can be extracted, but only at increasing
damage to freshwater ecosystems. Generating power form wind is a toy
technology, as nearly as I can make out, as are alternatives for
estracting power from tidal energy. Solar sounds nice, but from my seat,
lag issues haven't been worked out, and the issues regarding the impact
on ecosystems that have enormous solar power grids built over them
haven't been seriously considered, let alone studied at the massive scale
required to make much of a dent in CO2 production rates.
> And I think you're wrong to characterize the many who oppose such a
< solution as "hysterical."
That term was singled out for use on the leadership (anti-leadership?) of
the United States for the past several decades.
However, I have had many conversations with people who I otherwise
consider to be intellegent people, and in many cases, intellectuals in
their own right, in their own fields, and yes, the reaction to nuclear
power is often on the edge of hysteria.
> Are the
> people of Chernobyl, and those in surrounding countries affected by that
> 1986 disaster, "cattle" because bitter experience has taught them to oppose
> nuclear energy?
Their energies would be better directed at opposing stupid, dangerous and
pointless tests of poorly designed reactors. Surely you are aware that
the technology used at Cherbobyl was third-world technology. These were
poorly designed reactors, and one was driven to destruction by an
extremely stupid series of commands.
> There are other solutions and they are well-known. In no particular order:
> using less fossil fuel, preserving forests, switching to sustainable (and
> non-polluting) energy resources.
Using less fossil fuels: we both agree that is a good idea. However,
just saying "using less fossil fuels" and not coming up with altenatives
that make economic sense is a bit disingenuous.
Preserving forests sounds nice, unfortunately we seem to be rather lousy
at that as well. In terms of reef health, I do wish we would conserve
the forests of the world, and the grasslands, and take care that
croplands don't bleed any more nutirints and sediments into the world
oceans than necessary.
Switching to sustainable fuels means what... biomass conversion for cars,
more hydroelectric damns, solar farm fields, windmills, etc. Good luck.
Those techniques have shown nil promise over the last 20 years that I've
been following them.
The biggest effect on the amount of anthropogenic CO2 that we blow into
the atmosphere would come from building more modern fission reactors.
> Trying not to froth,
I certainly wasn't trying to upset anyone.
Sometime in the next few days, I'll try to give a synopsis of all he
reactor accidents in US history. They doen't amount to much. Certianly
not recently. People can read those narratives and make up heir own
mind, and contrast that to the amoung of radiation blown into the
environment from the operation of coal plants.
Until fusion comes along (and it may come along too late to be of major
significnce in this realm) fission is the cleanest, most compact and most
respoinsive way of gettting power into a power grid without large and
unknown questions about effects on dessert sysems, river systems, etc.
I'm all for consrvation. You might want to have a word with the sport
utility vehicle owners in the world.
So we can be obsessed by a lot of little things, or we can ignore the one
big thing that could make a major dent in CO2 emissions... fission power.
Many will disagree with me, and perhaps it is time for me to take this
off-line and correspond with those people individually. I'll be happy to
do that. Just send it to me by e-mail only., off the list, and maybe
I'll summarize as to how the discussin is going.
Again, the fission discussion is offline now. Send individual responses
to me. I will provide a summary and historical statments of risk as
appropriate. Perhaps occasionally checking back to the list. If people
don't want me to do that, send mail to me indicating that yu think it is
inappopriate, and I'll do my best to meet various feelings.
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