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View Diary: Pres. Obama breaks climate silence on MTV (124 comments)

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  •  If you transition from fossil to renewable (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sewaneepat, Miss Blue, G2geek, v2aggie2

    energies you need natural gas as a bridging fuel - at least given the current state of our technologies and if you want to do it as fast as you need to.
    Natural gas is the fossil fuel with the highest output of energy per carbon unit produced (much, much better than coal or oil, and much cleaner, too); and natural gas plants are very flexible which they need to be as they have to be part of a fluctuating system - the more renewables you have, the more you transition to a fluctuating system and you need flexible plants that you can switch on and off as you see fit. Natural gas plants - as opposed to coal plants - can do that and remain financially viable. Also, building them is less expensive than building coal plants which means that even if you use them only for 20 years the investment has been paid for; with coal plants that's 30 years or more.
    As scientists say that our per capita emission should be around 1 ton per head in 2050 for everybody living on the planet, investing in coal plants  nowappears not a good idea generally speaking and coal plants you build nowadays will still be around in 2050 (coal plants often are used around 40 years or even more) wrecking the carbon budget.

    The future is renewable.

    by KiB on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 03:05:52 AM PDT

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    •  that all sounds reasonable to me. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maybeeso in michigan

      One thing you're pointing to is the issue of "firm and dispatchable power," that can be turned on/off and up/down as required.  Natgas meets that requirement nicely, so it can be coupled to wind and solar accordingly.  

      There are some new "nuclear battery" power plants that may also fill the bill, that are intrinsically safe and can be made in very small sizes, down to @ 10 - 12 MWE.

      Ultimately, as Obama said, buildings need to be designed for higher energy efficiency, to reduce power consumption for heating and cooling.

      But one of the biggest untapped sources of efficiency is telecommuting or telework:  any employee whose job consists wholly of using a computer and telephone can do that job from home.  This relieves employers of the significant overhead cost of office space rental and all that goes with it.  Every employee who switches from automobile commuting to telecommuting saves ten car trips per week, and all the associated carbon impacts.  

      The obvious policy here should be to incentivize telework by way of the tax code: reducing and ultimately eliminating deductions for physical office space for jobs that can be done from home, and providing rapid tax write-offs for telework infrastructure (PBX, server, VPN, and the high-capacity voice & data circuits they utilize).   (Disclosure:  I pioneered the development of a key enabling technology in this area.)

      "Minus two votes for the Republican" equals "plus one vote for the Democrat." Arithmetic doesn't care about their feelings either!

      by G2geek on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 05:24:39 AM PDT

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      •  We are in agreement about natural gas. But no (0+ / 0-)

        nuclear plant is safe and they are not needed.
        People should think more about storing surplus power (from wind farms for example) by producing hydrogen or methane and about building up renewables much, much faster. There is no danger to them and no (after 50 years still unsolved) problems of getting rid of waste.
        Transport and more energy efficiency in the house are certainly
        important points, too.
        The less energy you need to care for your needs, the better.
        In Germany, carbon emissions per head are about 10 tons, in the US it's more than 20 tons. Both are industrialized countries, Germans don't live in caves exactly. In the US, a lot of energy is wasted. And even in Germany, there is still a lot of room for improvement in energy efficiency, both in households and industry.
        That's why I found Obama's recent comments about improving the energy efficiency of houses very encouraging.

        The future is renewable.

        by KiB on Sat Oct 27, 2012 at 08:59:39 AM PDT

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