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Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Mon 04 Jun 2018, 12:15:08

Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?
By The Editors of IEEE Spectrum
Do you believe that climate change is a vast left-wing conspiracy that does little more than create jobs for scientists while crippling businesses with pointless regulation? Or, quite the contrary, are you convinced that climate change is the biggest crisis confronting the planet, uniquely capable of wreaking havoc on a scale not seen in recorded history?

Many of you are probably in one camp or the other. No doubt some of you will tell us how disappointed/angry/outraged you are that we (a) gave credence to this nonsense or (b) failed to convey the true urgency of the situation. We welcome your thoughts.

In crafting this issue, we steered clear of attempting to change hearts and minds. Your views on climate change aren’t likely to be altered by a magazine article, or even two dozen magazine articles. Rather, this issue grew out of a few simple observations. One is that massive R&D programs are now under way all over the world to develop and deploy the technologies and infrastructures that will help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Governments, corporations, philanthropies, and universities are spending billions of dollars on these efforts. Is this money being spent wisely?

That question brings us to the next observation: The magnitude of the challenge is eye-poppingly huge. In 2009, representatives of industrialized nations met in Copenhagen and agreed on the advisability of preventing global average temperatures from rising more than 2 °C above their preindustrial levels. In 2014, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1) declared that doing so would require cutting greenhouse gas emissions 40 to 70 percent from 2010 levels by midcentury. These targets then guided the Paris Agreement (2), in 2015.

Even before Paris, Bill Gates had declared his belief that only a series of “energy miracles” could make meaningful progress in reducing greenhouse gases (3).

That got us thinking: What might those “miracles” be? If they were going to enable substantial cuts within a couple of decades, they would have to be in laboratories now.

So we started looking around for these miracles. We focused on three of the largest greenhouse-gas-emitting categories: electricity, transportation, and food and agriculture. We considered dozens of promising projects and programs. Eventually we settled on the 10 projects described in this issue (and two others covered on our website).

We picked most of these projects because they seemed to hold unusual promise relative to the attention they were getting. And we threw in a couple for, well, the opposite reason. Our reporters went to see these activities firsthand, fanning out to sites in Japan; Iceland; Hungary; Germany; the Netherlands; Columbus, N.M.; Schenectady, N.Y.; LaPorte, Texas; Cambridge, Mass.; and Bellevue, Wash. They trooped up and down vertical farms. They flew in electric airplanes. They viewed entirely new microorganisms—genetically engineered with the help of robots—growing in shiny steel fermentation chambers. An algae-growing tank burbled quietly in our mid-Manhattan offices, sprouting the makings for a green-breakfast taste test.

After six months, we had soaked up some of the best thinking on the use of tech to cut carbon emissions. But what did it all suggest collectively? Could these projects, and others like them, make a real difference? We put these questions to our columnist Vaclav Smil, a renowned energy economist, who responded with an essay (4). Without stealing Smil’s thunder, let’s just say that they don’t call them “miracles” for nothing.


The entire June 2018 issue: https://spectrum.ieee.org/
References:
(1) http://www.climatecentral.org/news/major-greenhouse-gas-reductions-needed-to-curtail-climate-change-ipcc-17300
(2) https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/09/what-is-the-paris-agreement-on-climate-change/
(3) https://www.gatesnotes.com/Energy/Energy-Miracles
(4) https://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/environment/a-critical-look-at-claims-for-green-technologies
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby pstarr » Mon 04 Jun 2018, 13:26:06

Short answer: no
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Mon 04 Jun 2018, 14:47:02

pstarr wrote:Short answer: no

Nice to see that as usual, you provide a thoughtful answer, backed by facts, logic, good citations, etc. /s

The average 9 year old is far more insightful.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby onlooker » Mon 04 Jun 2018, 15:03:02

christianlouslange1.jpg
christianlouslange1.jpg (50.42 KiB) Viewed 3652 times
These appeals to technology always make me pause and think:
"We are mortal beings doomed to die
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Mon 04 Jun 2018, 15:12:29

Thanks a lot for posting this KJ.

Lots to go through and will take some time, of course.

But I really like the agnostic approach of the article re AGW, and just looking at the tech re costs and practicality.

Some fascinating ideas, and it's good to see that older ideas like vertical indoor farming are still being improved upon..
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby pstarr » Mon 04 Jun 2018, 17:30:38

Given that oil is free, we have almost forever, and money is created out of nothing, there is little to prevent us instituting a world-wide carbon sequestration program powered by 4th Gen hemp biodiesel. An unicorn poop, via thermodepolymerization. Or we could go with fusion? I don't know? Who does
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby onlooker » Mon 04 Jun 2018, 17:42:47

pstarr wrote:Given that oil is free, we have almost forever, and money is created out of nothing, there is little to prevent us instituting a world-wide carbon sequestration program powered by 4th Gen hemp biodiesel. An unicorn poop, via thermodepolymerization. Or we could go with fusion? I don't know? Who does

Pstarr, why so pessimistic having you heard algae and seaweed will solve ALL our problems LMAO :lol:
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby pstarr » Mon 04 Jun 2018, 17:56:00

Hyperloops and Solar Roadways
Image

a nationwide network of distributed solar-powered H20 Gen/Store Hydrogen Fuel Cell EV HookerMobiles
Image
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby pstarr » Mon 04 Jun 2018, 21:56:29

:idea:
Outcast_Searcher wrote:Some fascinating ideas, and it's good to see that older ideas like vertical indoor farming are still being improved upon..

Improvements? Which? How? Why?

AppleSun Version 2 (tm) and TeslaDirt(tm)

Nah
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 05 Jun 2018, 06:31:48

Outcast_Searcher wrote:
pstarr wrote:Short answer: no

Nice to see that as usual, you provide a thoughtful answer, backed by facts, logic, good citations, etc. /s

The average 9 year old is far more insightful.


Unfortunately we collectively act as 9 year olds. So it is extreamely unlikely we will do anything helpful.
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 05 Jun 2018, 11:28:03

Newfie - Exactly. Engineers can come up with lots of workable ideas. Such as the most obvious: drastically reduce the amount of fossil fuels burned by consumers. What can be done isn't relevant: what govts/societies are willing to do is.
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 05 Jun 2018, 11:31:50

I think that you are all being naive. There may or may not be serious side effects to burning FF's. Without any doubts whatsoever, six billion humans will starve if we abandon petroleum-powered mechanized agriculture, and the transport of foodstuffs from distant places.

Nobody has yet convinced me that any AGW/CC consequence is worse than that.
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Tue 05 Jun 2018, 15:38:54

KaiserJeep wrote:I think that you are all being naive. There may or may not be serious side effects to burning FF's. Without any doubts whatsoever, six billion humans will starve if we abandon petroleum-powered mechanized agriculture, and the transport of foodstuffs from distant places.

Nobody has yet convinced me that any AGW/CC consequence is worse than that.

But I don't think this thread is about just abandoning burning FF's, which I agree, at least in the short term, would be a disaster. I think it's about mitigating the effects, via technology.

Those are two very different things.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Tue 05 Jun 2018, 15:50:54

ROCKMAN wrote:Newfie - Exactly. Engineers can come up with lots of workable ideas. Such as the most obvious: drastically reduce the amount of fossil fuels burned by consumers. What can be done isn't relevant: what govts/societies are willing to do is.

Completely fair and valid point.

But if viable technologies make it easy and in fact cheaper to do something else, then it's not a big deal to change. In fact, organizations and individuals might change in their own self interest.

So for example, if solar truly gets meaningfully cheaper (via better technology) than burning fossil fuels in a decade or so, switching to solar will occur, simply to save money.

Same story for BEV's, once maintenance costs are factored in.

Some of the ideas in KJ's initial linked story are along the same lines re cost for other ideas. If, for example fuel cells can mitigate 90% of the CO2 created by many power plants cheaply, then that's not a meaningful burden. So doing that might happen. Especially if it helps avoid things like a CO2 tax.

...

So I could be wrong, but I believe the main reason governments and voters have been so strongly resistant to doing anything meaningful thus far is primarily the perceived high cost.

So to me, the real question here is can technology greatly lower that cost (or even turn that cost into savings in some cases)?

By the time we know in, say, a decade, we'll have more data on whether the recent spate of record setting high temperature years globally abates or accelerates. Also on whether SLR is hitting insurance costs meaningfully in places like Florida.

If people wake up enough to realize the costs of warming aren't trivial, that really changes things if the solutions aren't horrendously expensive.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Tue 05 Jun 2018, 15:53:47

There's only one viable technological plan for mitigating the FF apocalypse that I know of. That would be moving off the Earth and into self-sufficient space colonies, safe from the resource squabbles on Earth.
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby pstarr » Tue 05 Jun 2018, 16:35:10

There no 'viable alternative' to diesel-fueled tractors, bunker fuel-powered ships, or kerosene flying airplanes. No long-haul EV Semis. No Hyperloopys. While there certainly are theoretical alternatives, all . . . after generations of development refinement and testing . . . have failed all the tests economic, thermodynamic and practical. There will be no drone pizza delivery. Sorry.

KJ, I also don't get why you bother in this silly thread: you know (and everybody else here knows by now) you are not a global warming hysteric. Who cares if technology can 'reverse' climate change . . . if climate change has nothing to do with man's futile future life here on earth?

All these non-oil threads remind me of camper-kids huddled around the campfire singing kumbya . . . because they are scared of what is out in the dark.
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby dohboi » Tue 05 Jun 2018, 19:24:25

p, it just gives him another opportunity to trot out his tired old Frank Sinatra 'Fly Me To The Moon" shtick.

The original is much better! :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hxibHJOE5E
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby pstarr » Tue 05 Jun 2018, 20:40:57

dohboi wrote:p, it just gives him another opportunity to trot out his tired old Frank Sinatra 'Fly Me To The Moon" shtick.

The original is much better! :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hxibHJOE5E

Huh?

Creatine, not found in a plant-based diet, might aid your reading and historical comprehension.

We have already been there. The moon.

Cheers (happy face)
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby Ibon » Thu 07 Jun 2018, 06:40:28

Newfie wrote:Unfortunately we collectively act as 9 year olds. So it is extreamely unlikely we will do anything helpful.


Being 9 years old is maybe the best of times, old enough to reason, innocent enough to believe in fantasy, relationship with money is in how much candy you can buy and still a couple of years away from those hormones that twist us all up.
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Re: Can Technology Reverse Climate Change?

Unread postby Newfie » Thu 07 Jun 2018, 09:12:06

You are correct. I apologize to all 9 year olds!
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