Your post would more properly be titled "Ignorance is bliss." The US is one of only a very few countries in which cartels are "illegal." Despite the fervent hopes of the "progressive" element, thankfully there is no "world government" that has thge power to make (and enforce) such a law. In fact, most of the nations that you admire most actively ENCOURAGE and participate in cartels!
Peachtree City, GA (where I used to work) has a huge network of paths specifically designated for bicycles AND GOLF CARTS. Virtually 100% of the households there have at least one golf cart. These are registered and licensed by the city, and are EXTREMELY popular. Some of these are gasoline or propane/CNG powered, but the vast majority are electric. One factor: these are permiitted to be driven by UNLICENSED drivers too. These are the perfect NEVs you want (at least in a moderate climate like Atlanta) BUT it also requires an infrastructure (the network of paths and dedicated bridges to keep the "real cars" and golf carts from "fraternizing") and maintenance of same. A lot of these are actually configured as 4-seaters!
Note that the lovely charts presented below (above if oldest first) do not show that the earth's GW parameters are just variable, but that they tend to oscillate in a well defined band. A constant oscillarion(similar to a fixed AC voltage). This does not imply that the range with human intervention will not change noticably, and has no real data on our comfort (food sources and weather patterns) as this range shifts. What I got out of the heat balance is that our contribution is a small part of the total, but that this may be all that is required to swing us from one extreem to another. I would feel a lot happerier about this if we knew what limited the extreemes in the past and that our massive water impoundments and deforestation, had not weakened exactly that limiting factor.
Perhaps we should be developing electric rail cars, with modest batteries? A lot more construction involved, but it will certainly work technically.
Thank you, ttemple & fixitsan. You're comments are very kind.
I hope that I don't come across as too much of a "know it all", because there is always so much more to learn, and experts in any given field that know so much more than me. However, as you might guess - I've been interested in and obsessively studied many different aspects of alternative energy, technology, cars, etc. My biggest strength, I guess, is being very broad, deep in a few areas, and my mindset is to always try to cut through hype and dig to the REAL understanding of issues. Today, there is a lot of hype about EV's, AGW, and of course many other things!
fixitsan - I've always wanted to visit Scotland. I visited northern Ireland (Belfast) this year...maybe soon?
Regarding your list of a - d ....what about 'e - lower temps, higher CO2' and 'higher temps, lower CO2' these are both equally valid.
Living in Scotland gives me the benfit of access to 30% renewable electricity and no nuclear in the mix. We have a surplus of homegrown electricity and export a continuous amount down to north England. Of course , we are blessed with plenty of wind and water.
I think you're correct to bring taxes into this. If we all didn't have to pay the huge amount of tax burden to pay for troops to safeguard our oil in other countries, because we didn't need the oil, then how much richer will we be, and we can then afford to be more generous with funding alternative ideas, EV's for example, and other developments across the board.
Perhapsthe biggest shame in all of this, isn't anything to do with AGW, or renewable energy, or being smart with nuclear. The biggest issue for me is that considering the huge amount of beneficial medicines and fertilisers we extract from crude oil....it seems like burning it in internal combustion engines is the most stupid thing you could do with it
As (mostly) engineers on this board, I think that we all know that the nature of "computer models" is that until all inputs & parameters are understood - results can be "garbage in = garbage out". Once those items are understood, the computer model can have tremendous predictive powers (FEA, CFD, etc.).
Note that my personal position on AGW remains one of skeptic (of BOTH sides...but most suspicious of the ZEALOTS that loudly scream their positions using only partial or feeble proof).
The NASA measurements are interesting, and throw water on a lot of zealot fires. That still doesn't prove, however, that AGW is NOT happening, as there is still enough uncertainty for an intellectually honest person to say "we don't know for sure yet". More research is appropriate.
When one considers the complex feedback loops in the earth's biosphere, it gets very complicated:
a) higher temps and higher CO2 will create more algae (and plant) growth - absorbing more CO2, helping reduce the problem.
b) higher avg temp will evaporate more water, potentially creating more clouds, which reflect more solar energy, cooling the earth.
c) higher avg temp will increase the avg radiative emissions from the earth, cooling it.
d) a positive feedback issue: as ocean temps rise, the dissolved CO2 starts to outgas - adding to greenhouse gasses. Also, frozen methane hydrates in the polar zones can start to sublimate methane - which would be destabilizing.
So...while I'm not saying this is anywhere near complete - there are certainly reasons why the earth's temperatures have been as stable as they are...and we are nowhere near understanding how the big picture of these interactions works.
Also, you'll see that I'm 100% in favor of getting us off the use of fossil fuels ASAP...but my core reasons are different. I'm not sure if AGW is something we should be scared to death about, but a much more certain fact is that fossil fuels are finite and will be depleted in the not too distant future. Therefore, even if our underlying reasons are different - we can agree that the prioritization of deploying renewable energy sources should be extremely high, so that we are ready when fossil fuels run low. Also - why not use oil for more useful things like synthesizing plastics, etc. instead of just BURNING it? Once oil / fossil fuels run low - manmade CO2 levels will fall dramatically, and the AGW arguments become moot. The earth's temperatures will still continue to fluctuate, possibly even to disasterous levels, driven by nature's own forces.
The other fact that I have become convinced of that is controversial to many is that EV's are NOT very beneficial in converting our energy usage to renewables. They are at most a "second phase" that can leverage the renewable sources once they are deployed on the grid. As long as the majority of electric power is generated by fossil fuels - the BIG PICTURE is that EV's don't really help much in this regard.
Now...EV zealots, searching for any toehold in this debate will typically drop back to smaller facts to continue the debate, such as:
1. The grid has SOME renewable content now, so won't EV's at least partially benefit from these ? The answer is YES. Especially in regions with high renewable content. It is a judgement / opinion, but using the USA avg. grid sources of 68% fossil fueled electricity - I think that the benefit is not enough to justify retooling our entire infastructure and making the significant cost and convenience trade-offs that EV's currently require. On an individual basis - sure...if you want to spend your money that way - go for it. In fact, for best benefit, buy $30K worth of solar panels and charge your EV with it. Just don't think about how much money you have spent doing the "green" thing. Also, I should note that the main benefit in this case comes from the solar panels, not the EV.
2. Maybe we should "prime the pump" of EV technology, to make sure it is ready when the grid is converted to renewables. Well..again....a half-truth but impractical IMO. The support costs to sell EV's today are HUGE, the benefits small and temporary, and the grid will not have a high percentage of renewable sources for many decades. So...it's too early to get too excited about EV's, IMO. Let's take that stimulus money and put it directly into developing better renewable energy power sources and grid-scale energy storage (Bill Gates gets this...he has funded at least one major effort for grid storage).
My biggest concession: maybe the government supports should be tailored more intelligently - subsidize EV's only in regions that have high renewable / non-CO2 grid sources (hydro, wind, geothermal, nuclear). That would give the most environmental "bang for the buck". By the way - remember the "buck" is your money, taken from taxes, so let's spend it wisely.
cheers, we are all on this planet together. let's try to act accordingly.
"The magnitude of the surface temperature response of the climate system to an imposed radiative energy imbalance remains just as uncertain today as it was decades ago . Over 20 coupled ocean-atmosphere climate models tracked by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produce a wide range of warming estimates in response to the infrared radiative forcing theoretically expected from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions ."
Some cars are more reliable than others, but even the vehicles at the bottom of this year’s Consumer Reports reliability survey are vastly better than those of 20 years ago in the key areas of powertrain and hardware, experts said this week.
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