[-] h2 on March 16, 2011 - 8:49pm Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top
No known human non-sustainable, large scale, centralized, culture has been able to correctly predict the condition of that human culture 2 centuries in its future.
Just 65-70 years ago bombs were being dropped on all key facilities in Europe, Russia/USSR, China was being bombed, Japan was bombed. That's only 70 years, not even remotely close to 2 centuries. And that's only one way things can and do go bad.
Yes 2 centuries looks shorter, but there is no way this heavily industrialized system is going to exist in 2 centuries, sorry. It's a blip in history, a dip at the bottom of the pit.
The comparison of nuke/coal is false, both are used, and coal is not slowing down, it's speeding up.
I think the thing that is hard to grasp here is that when we started using nukes, this was basically a tacit admission that we had reached the maximum levels, looking at matters from a relatively sane 1 century perspective. All nukes did was let us dig ourselves a bit deeper, with slightly longer lasting toxic waste as the outcome.
Coal alone is being used at full production rates. I realize we have been brainwashed for decades about nukes being a replacement, that was the dream promoted in the 50s, but reality soon showed that the old too cheap to meter dream would never happen. And it never has happened.
In a way nukes are the ultimate toy/gadget, only it's corporations that profit from making these, and so they are understandably reluctant to release the tax payer funded teat. In my view, the actual max happened some time in the 70s, only we are only now starting to see it.
I will repeat my point I made yesterday, not one pound of coal has not been burned, in the long term, from nukes being online, but a massive amount of conservation has NOT happened in the first world because of them. These are just enabling devices, not positive future paths. The developing world is developing on coal, and is adding nukes as well. Besides, uranium is depleting as a resource, and will deplete even more quickly as global demand rises.
I keep seeing this fallacy being typed here, the USA has something like 50% of its energy being generated in coal powered plants. They are adding more I believe, so is China, India, etc. I think even Saudi Arabia is looking to add coal power, because oil is too valuable to burn. If you draw baseline of generation, I will bet that expansion in consumption since the 70s largely matches the expansion of nuclear. Nuclear is digging us deeper, it's not helping us get out of the problem.
Looking globally, coal is produced at top levels, it is rising in price, so clearly demand is outpacing supply, thus no coal use is being saved at all, we are burning coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium, at full speed. There is no surplus coal being produced, no surplus oil, and I believe, no surplus uranium. There is a small uptick in gas because the US market is flooded, so that's probably what we should be using as we try to find a lower level of consumption. This logic isn't complicated so I think it's just mental habits and repeating what we've been told rather than any malicious attempt to deceive here.
In other words, it appears that we are now on the inflexion point of major change. This inflection point can be determined when the key resources are no longer able to keep up with demand, that is demonstrated by the price the market demands to supply them. The only question now is how long the current levels of consumption can be maintained. Once those cannot be maintained, you will see wars, increasing system instability, and it is this that forms the ultimate reason to stop all nuke development now. We will not have the resources to correct the failures in the future. Coal is merely the silent killer that creeps up on us, but is even worse, but adding bad to worse in no case results in better.
These wars and system instability, by the way, are not hypothetical, they are happening now. Iraq is one such, a miserable failure, but still that's what it is. The Mideast convulsions are one way you can see how systems destabilize, often in highly unpredictable, chaotic ways. Those are the weak links, the way the stronger links manifest these instabilities is not yet known, but one thing you can be certain of, there is no safe predictable future for a nuclear power plant in any nation in the world over the next 100 years. Some may do ok, but that cannot be predicted in any meaningful way.
Both Coal and Uranium are non-sustainable, highly toxic materials, neither of which has any place in any sustainable energy mix, but sadly, both are promoted by entrenched corporate interests who do everything they can to keep these profit generators running. Profit for them, not for us, we pay the price, so does the planet.