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View Diary: Whiny Frog or Boiling Frog - Why don't you care about energy? (406 comments)

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  •  I've read many replies... (4.00)
    On getting a hybrid car, or gas prices at the pump problem, or greenhouses gases, etc...

    In facts those are just the emerged part of the iceberg! The biggest consumer of energy is the industry!

    Don't forget that each time you fit a steel beam or rebar in concrete, you use coal (you can't have steel without coal!). But of course you can buy low grade steel to the Chinese (who have coal) and get it at a better quality in your own country (using energy again). Steel is getting as rare as oil! (Mostly because of Chinese development!)
    Making glass is using energy, as making plastics, as "baking" silicon (for computer chips), as... It's endless!

    It's a global-local problem you have to deal with a very wide perception of what you really want to achieve!
    Buying a bicycle, is getting a good habit, but won't really change anything if industry doesn't start changing.

    Atmosphere pollution can be controlled quite seamlessly by industry (with some regulations) but it won't change the energy problem... The two are distinct and must be seen as such.

    Oil is... Gone! Or at least we will need what is left of it for other means in petrochemicals (until we shift that back to the original origin of plastic, the vegetal cell membrane!)
    At about 50 to 70$ the barrel, many other alternative exists (they are not viable alternatives at 15$ the barrel... yet)!

    Nuclear breeding plants, while scorned by most green guys, and scary as it is, is the only quick alternative to keep industry productive... For the next 50 to 100 years.
    It is not a "clean" source of energy... But we haven't so many choices in the short term.

    Building is another main energy consuming market. All those little wooden houses are not really "green" in the long term in land management! Steel and aluminum should be used only for specific things (like planes) where replacement materials are not so easy to get. In Germany aluminum is banned for windows (too much energy consuming (chemicals and electricity).

    Don't forget that when you get an electrical car (or hybrid), industry builds it with batteries ("heavy metal" toxic ones, like Cadmium, Lithium, not to speak of the old "lead" one with acid) Those are toxic wastes just as dangerous as nuclear ones!

    And hiding behind the oil and industry nightmare, there is the water problem (with the plumbing's and al).
    Car and traffic pollution, is just the tree that hides the forest!

    Most of today's alternatives are not really efficient for "heavy" use... And much too complex for many countries... Unless everybody is ready to really modify his way of living (try using only 15 liters of water per person per household, washing, drinking, cooking!), we are getting there quickly...

    So when you don't really fund research on those topics, you go nowhere... When you don't "educate" people with real incitatives,  you have to stick to the next worse thing that could be cheap enough...!

    •  Well, actually... (none)
      Steel is easily recycled. The steel foundry (or whatever the word for it is) in Seattle works off of almost entirely scrap.

      Nuclear plants can't go 50-100 years. It's likely that if we ramped them up, they'd last 15 (uranium peaks just like oil).

      Cars are unsustainable in the long run. Period. We don't have the energy input for it.

      •  Yes... (none)
        Quite right about recycling steel ! But it still a high end energy consumer !

        About the plants, I was speaking of the "breeding" sort (the one that produce itself it's own resources (yes, with sodium coolant, that's not so nice). It could keep us for the time we can manage fission (new experimental plant being built today), answers in about 50 years! (I don't have a crystal ball either :-) )

        Cars are unsustainable in the long run, for many reasons...
        One seldom stated is about social go-between! In many countries, the car is seen by law as a private property, just as your home lounge! So many people going to work by car, just exist their own family house (private), hop in their car space (private), drive in public space while still feeling themselves secure in their private space, get to the job's parking lot (often private, some even having a number or name on it), take a lift (not private, but, anyhow, not very comfy!), and access to their office (sort of private)...

        So in fact they didn't really share public space with others! Given time and raise in salary, most lose the feeling (and constraints) of public sharing! They tend to reduce their community size, and get easily afraid of strangers (that can be the guy in the next block)...

        So the "moving house" on 4 wheels tends to break a given society (often urban) and bring it back to the village community sort (I knew your grandfather, so I can tolerate you!)...

        Some thoughts...

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