Stop Global warming
The main source of energy for the planet is from the sun. However, the main sources of energy used in modern society do not come directly from the sun. Instead in our early development, we burned wood, which is really the sun's energy stored using photosynthesis by trees. Biomass is a special way of preparing plant tissue (often corn) so that it can be burned as fuel. Coal is derived from ancient trees that died and were and preserved in the ground, so that is also indirect ancient sun's energy. The same is true for oil and gas, these are the remains of ancient animals and plants that died and were preserved in the soils. We recover the energy by burning these "fossil fuels." Windmills and modern wind turbines work because the sun heats some areas differently than others causing the air to move around. Using the sun directly is done by employing solar photo-voltaic panels or solar thermal collectors.
When thinking about what energy sources to use, we often consider cost to buy the energy. But some energy sources have hidden costs. For example fossil fuels receive large subsidies. On average for the world these subsidies are about about 6.5% of global GDP or $5.3 trillion per year.
Another important factor that may not be immediately obvious. Wind and solar are intermittent sources. Solar only works for about one quarter of the day on average, and the wind is unpredictable, averaging about 40% of the day. For these non-producing times, the system must have an energy storage facility. Currently most use natural gas or the main grid, so the benefit of solar and wind is diminished by the amount of backup from fossil fuels required.
Dr. Dan Meneley has provided us a video explaining the energy sources that are available and in what ways we can transform the energy into work. Click the four little arrows for a full screen effect.
Which Options to choose?
We can discuss the differences between one set of technical solutions or another to find the optimum. But in the face of impending danger with a very close timeline, optimum is rarely available. In today's tumultuous array of rational, emotional, cultural, economic, religious, political, and other decision-making variables, finding an optimum or "correct" solution just is not going to happen in time.The way forward is to use a wide array of bottom-up and top-down approaches together with whatever technical approaches work for the context of a given group of stakeholders. The key ingredient is sharing a vision of the future and agreeing to work towards that vision. The role we can all play is helping to create an achievable future vision and to understand and describe why a sense of urgency is needed - not necessarily to benefit us, but certainly to benefit our grandchildren.
Stable Climate can directly facilitate finding agreements to work towards the future. We can do that by offering reasoned and well-thought out proposals as options in the development of implementation planning, and even participate in those discussions. Urgency can be indicated, not by panicking, but instead by recommending plans for realistic measures to adapt to the inevitable impacts. How would Miami, Boston, Louisiana, etc., deal with a 2 meter rise in sea level over the next 85 years? How should these cities and countries plan to meet that inevitability?
Just about any solution is worth the money
While there is an encouraging growth of solar, wind and other non-fossil fuel sources of energy for our use, the growth rate of these other sources of energy is nowhere near quick enough to catch up with the fast-paced rate of global warming. Here is a partial list of potential options for tackling global warming.
Options to tackle global warming
- Photosynthetic (under development)
- Offshore floating arrays
- Prop Turbines
- Downhill flow
- Pumped storage
- Salinity gradients
- Reverse electrodialysis
- Pressurized water reactor
- Boiling water reactor
- Pressurized heavy water reactor
- Light water graphite moderated reactor
- Gas-cooled reactor
- Fast-neutron breeder reactor
- Molten salt thorium reactor
- Small modular reactor
- Nuclear Fusion
- Magnetic confinement fusion reactor (Tokamak and Stellarator)
- Inertial Confinement reactor
- From agricultural products to biomass fuels
- From land fill and municipal waste methane capture
- Algae-based fuels
- Forestry by-products as biomass fuels source
- Synthetic fuels (carbon capture and sequestration processes)
- Fuel Cell (hydrogen)
- Space-based orbiting solar array
- Energy storage systems
- Pumped water
- Air pumped into underwater bladders
- Compressed gas tanks
- Synthetic fuels(as back up for intermittent solar and wind)
- Agricultural Practices
- Multi-layer cropping
- Forestry Practices
- Selective cutting
- Leave slash
- Agricultural Practices
- Carbon capture and sequestration
- Geothermal heat
- Increa sed ocean productivity
- Iron Seeding
- Volcanic ash seeding
- Deep ocean up-welling pipes
- Controlling planetary albedo
- Space chaff
- Space mirrors
- Subsidies (remove and/or add)
- Regulations and laws
- Carbon cap and trade
- Carbon tax
- Fee and dividend
- Religious practices
- Community actions
Stable Climate can directly facilitate finding agreements to work towards the future. We can do that by offering reasoned and well-thought out proposals as options in the development of implementation planning, and even participate in those discussions. Urgency can be indicated, not by panicking, but instead by recommending plans for realistic measures to adapt to the inevitable impacts. How would Miami, Boston, Louisiana, etc., deal with a 1-2 meter rise in sea level over the next 85 years? How should these cities and countries plan to meet that inevitability?
Just about any solution is worth the money
It is hard to imagine any sensible plan that succeeds in stopping global warming being too expensive. Unchecked global warming will destroy hundreds of trillions of dollars of coastal infrastructure, drought will cause untold trillions of dollars damage to croplands in the US, Mexico, South America, Africa and Asia. Melting mountain glaciers will severely limit available freshwater from mountain sources and rising sea levels will infiltrate nearshore freshwater aquifers. As previous cold weather barriers are breached it will enable the spread of disease and pest vectors to naive ecosystems and medical facilities. If global warming goes too far, it will potentially render many tropical areas uninhabitable, disrupt the major deep water oceanic currents to release methane hydrates and further exacerbate the climate problems. If global warming remains unchecked, the impacts could destabilize human civilization through extensive refugee migration (up to a billion people searching for new homes and businesses), resource wars, and revolts.