Exactly, Ann. If Germany--one of the greyest places in teh world in winter (and other seasons sometimes as well!) can do it--so can the United States. It's good to see the technology emerging that can support even sun-starved places and allow solar to play an even larger role. No shortage of wind in Germany, though! :)
I hope as a writer and editor on this topic, that you choose to avoid accepting a moral form of cultural relativism, and do not attempt to distance yourself from some harsh moral judgements about the number of deaths involved. This is not a new topic, it goes back a couple decades, where the dominate voices have been indifferent to the huge social costs of fossil fuel use, while zero nuke ideology prevails. Living a few miles from Diablo Cyn, I've seen all sides of the politics, the passion, and lack of thought.
I doubt future generations will be quite so kind, as they review that dissenting voices were shouted down, resulting in a quiet genocide of inner city poor unable to escape the polution of our times. I've heard the zero nuke mantra for decades, with hope that a renewable solution would save humanity from fossil fuels. It was a dream, that remains beyond our reach, without a nuke power contribution.
I choose to pick up my family, leave the California smog, and raise my kids in rural Colorado. Not everyone can make that choice. I made that choice a bit too late after working in LA for several decades, I have reduced lung capacity that reduced my ability to cycle as I had for decades ... and it's tougher at this altitude. I've never smoked, but the COPD is real, after cycling in southern California for nearly 30 years. There was a cost when smog was so bad, you could not see the end of the block. There is still a cost spending hours each week in stop and go traffic ... on city streets, or on the highways.
There is a cost ... in lives, in deaths, in illnesses ... it's time *WE* as engineers, do our job, and step up the the challenge to make this a zero fossil fuel planet, in the next couple decades.
We are engineers ... we know how to make compromises and tradeoff's when perfect solutions do not exist, and then aggressively pursue step wise refinement to make it better.
We each need to take a pledge that we will find the solutions, and refine those solutions, to make this a fossil fuel free planet. We need to start today ... we need to have a decade goal, to substantially implement this pledge.
The solutions that we use in this decade, are probably not the solutions for the next decade, or the next. But we can not keep saying that we can work on it later. There has already been 50 years of later go by. Today we need to pledge, that this will not affect our children, or grand children in 2025.
Not a suprise PatB still trying to censor me, he doesn't want to answer the question how many more must die burning fossil fuels. He whines about deaths and illnesses from nuke power problems, whines more about costs, and is indifferent to the real problems that face ALL OF US EVERY DAY..
Our energy policy must remove fossil fuels from business, residential and transportation power budgets.
The hypocracy is that fossil fuels kill and injure 6-7 ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE more people, with a similar cost ratio to society. Especially the transportation part of the problem. I lost my youngest child in 2006 to another hypocracy, at the hands of an indifferent parent. That pain never goes away ... and as engineers we are making a mistake to advance an adjenda for next generation power solutions that fail to address and remove the deaths of children from fossil fuel polution from the table ... to hell with zero nuke idealogy ... when millions die each year from fossil fuels, and tens of millions more become ill from fossil fuel pollution.
If you are a mother, then you need to protect your children, and grand children ... read all the links below. And next time you sit in stop and go traffic, with your car full of toxic fossil fuel particulates and chemical fumes, think about the studies referenced below ... with your young child or baby strapped into the car seat forced to breath what is a deadly coctail of death for many children. You are probably lucky, and your child is realtively healthy ... too many parents are not. Too many of the elderly with reduced lung capacity are not ... will that be you in a few years? ... or will you help build a fossil fuel free world?
Wind and solar have their place ... Fossil Fuels kill ... and kill babies even faster because of their high respitory rates. I push for a zero fossil fuel economy ... no buring coal, no buring gas, no buring oil, no burining wood.
What works in California for wind and power, does not scale in Fair banks Alaska, or for very little of the world for that matter. We need solutions that can be applied everywhere. Yes, there are areas that will be fully served by wind/solar ... but relatively few in comparison to major population centers around the world
New fail safe reactor technologies are clean, with some risks, that are orders of magnitude below the current base line of fossil fuel deaths and illnesses. H2 power storage has significant transportation potential. The zero nuke idealogy forces a large fossil fuel market ... and does kill babies, children, and adults. And zero nuke idealogy evangelists, do need to be called baby killers when they choose to ignore the deaths they force blocking clean fail safe reactors.
Why is it ok to kill millions with fossil fuels, simply to advance a zero nuke power idealogy. That is simply hypocracy.
The numbers stand by themselves ... you can even dispute a couple orders of magnitude if you wish/can, but the hypocrisy behind the remaining several orders of magnitude in deaths and illnesses remains. Yes the couple 50 year old reactor design failures are significant ... but they are not representive of US light water reactor failures, and certainly not representive of newer fail safe Pebble Bed, and later designs.
please read at least what is below, and references, if not the two source threads on Nuke safety and Fukushima that spawned this debate.
WilliamK writes: "It is still not clear that "many are dying from fossile fuels", at least not around here, in the US." ... and has problems with H2 in automotive use.
I will help with your research ... H2 tank technology and transportation trials - 680 miles in a Prius
I've posted a number of sources to review for US deaths/injury, and world wide death/injury .... some are below ... which easily total more than world wide nuke power related death/injury.
See the following links for US deaths, which are far from zero, plus the other links I provided reciently. Us deaths are significant, world wide are higher. There are particulate related deaths/injury, and chemical related deaths/injury.
This article states: http://www.worldwatch.org/air-pollution-now-threatening-health-worldwide "In the U.S., air pollution causes as many as 50,000 deaths per year and costs as much as $40 billion a year in health care and lost productivity."
The article www.nrdc.org/health/kids/ocar/chap4.asp states: "Which states "A recent study estimated that approximately 64,000 people in the United States die prematurely from heart and lung disease every year due to particulate air pollution".
http://www.countercurrents.org/cc191212.htm states: Worldwide, a record 3.2m people a year died from air pollution in 2010"
The article en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide_poisoning states: "In the United States, approximately 200 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning associated with home fuel-burning heating equipment. Carbon monoxide poisoning contributes to the approximately 5613 smoke inhalation deaths each year in the United States. The CDC reports, "Each year, more than 500 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxid"
What I see in the leading photo is a static solar cell system surrounded by tinder dry grass, and just barely enough room to walk between the rows. What happens during one of those frequent brush fires? I can imagine all of the array being destroyed in just a few minutes time. Am I the only one who can see a potential for an expensive disaster there? Doesn't anybody else consider some of the potential failure situation? Will this installation make it into "Designed by monkeys?"
Debera, thanks for that info about China's renewable power strides. I knew they were pursuing alternative energy but not how far they've come. regarding cost, of course newer tech is more expensive--that's always the case. As we've discussed in comments to several different posts about alternative energy, it's not reasonable to expect a new energy source, without the same huge, established, existing infrastructure as the current energy source, to be competitive with it price-wise. It will take time, and outside funding assistance will help speed that process.
Thanks, Elizabeth. Germany now gets a high percentage of its electricity from renewables, including solar power, and they don't exactly have the market cornered on the number of days of usable sunshine. But they've been working on it longer than we have and with much more of a will to find solutions. The point is, the technologies can be developed and adapted to fit the local need.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
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