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Earth Science

UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate 433

An anonymous reader writes "On the heels of a study that concluded there was less than a 1% chance that current global warming could be simple fluctuations, U.N. scientists say energy from renewables, nuclear reactors and power plants that use emissions-capture technology needs to triple in order keep climate change within safe limits. From The Washington Post: 'During a news conference Sunday, another co-chair, Rajendra K. Pachauri of India, said the goal of limiting a rise in global temperatures "cannot be achieved without cooperation." He added, "What comes out very clearly from this report is that the high-speed mitigation train needs to leave the station soon, and all of global society needs to get on board."'"
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UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

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  • Re:Nope. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Rising Ape ( 1620461 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @05:33PM (#46742447)

    Unless we just really have no problem with every X years some spot on earth becomes uninhabitable for the next 50,000 years...

    More like 300 years at most, with most of the affected area clear in under 100. The offending isotope is Cs-137, which has a half life of about 30 years. The long lived stuff isn't volatile enough to be released in significant quantity.

  • Nothing will happen (Score:5, Informative)

    by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @05:34PM (#46742453)

    Human minds just aren't made to react to something so abstract, so distant, so far away. Look at the crisis building up with the US economy, national debt, and so on - something that could cause a whole generation to undergo a great depression yet nary a thought is given to it.

    For example, on the economic situation, this guy was made the US's top accountant for over a decade, and appointed to posts by both R and D presidents and yet he makes videos that can barely garner 2k views about the situation (since September): []

    I guess if there was a girl twerking in it, it might work.

    Anyway, that's how it is. We react, many don't think too far ahead. Both situations are basically simple concepts in theory (global warming is built on the green house effect which is simple to demonstrate, the economy on interest and other high school math), but so many interests go in and muddle issues, that the average guy doesn't know what to believe, so even those with a modicum of forethought are stymied by special interests.

    And the special interests want status quo. Nothing will happen. That's the tragedy of democracy and why it never really lasts long. Power and money is like water, it always gathers and concentrates.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2014 @06:12PM (#46742641)

    France imports electricity from Germany whenever it's too hot or too cold. In either case, limited cooling is available. In the winter, this is exacerbated by the enormous consumption due to the French preference for electrical heating combined with a lack of insulation, because electricity is cheap for consumers in France. Besides, the argument that stopping construction of new nuclear power plants is the reason for older designs remaining in service is bogus: Older designs remain in service no matter what (except for a total ban, which is happening in Germany). Keeping old plants online is simply the capitalist thing to do: They're bought and paid for and still work. Why would you shut them down?

  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @07:08PM (#46742987)

    except i'd rather have todays nuclear power plants then those from 30 years ago.

    You might not have noticed, but today's nuclear plants in the US are from 30 years ago.

  • by Amorymeltzer ( 1213818 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @07:56PM (#46743223)

    Nuclear is cleaner than coal barring an accident. Coal is guaranteed to kill and hurt people. With Nuclear you at least have a chance of everyone being healthy.

    I beg to differ []: nuclear is cleaner than coal even if you include accidents. The calculations on that page are admittedly from early 2011, but it accounts for 4,000 deaths from Chernobyl. I could add up a bunch more from Wikipedia [], but screw that, lets just throw in Hiroshima and Nagasaki into the mix - about 250,000 deaths. And then let's round that to an even one million for the heck of it.

    The death rate is still lower than coal by an order of magnitude. Nuclear is cleaner than coal even if you include 4x the deaths of atomic acts of war.

    That whole piece is fascinating, especially for insights such as

    Coal and fossil fuel deaths usually do not include deaths caused during transportation. The more trucking and rail transport is used then the more deaths there are. The transportation deaths are a larger component of the deaths in the USA than direct industry deaths. Moving 1.2 billion tons of coal takes up 40% of the freight rail traffic and a few percent of the trucking in the USA.


    Those who talk about PV solar power (millions of roofs) need to consider roof worker safety. About 1000 construction fatalities per year in the US alone. 33% from working at heights. Falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry. An average of 362 fatal falls occurred each year from 1995 to 1999, with the trend on the increase.

  • Re:Nuclear? (Score:5, Informative)

    by macpacheco ( 1764378 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @08:15PM (#46743303)

    You need to look no further than Germany renewables plan, flush with hundreds of billions of euro in funding has stalled. They can't add more wind or solar panels to the Germany grid. The problem isn't money. Every extra solar panel and wind turbine added to the grid increases grid instability a little more.
    When are you environmentalist nuts start studying how the electrical grid actually works instead of having fantasies about how it should work.
    If solar and wind were so great, Hawaii would have shutdown its oil based thermal plants already. They have very expensive electricity, making renewables cheap, yet it doesn't quite work, cause it's just not that simple.
    Get a grip. Without nuclear, there's no hope to solve climate change. And nuclear is not the boogeyman your environmentalist friends have convinced you it is. Zero Fukushima deaths, zero confirmed radiation related cancers. Its been three years. It's already becoming another Chernobyl (as in the environmentalists overblow the problem about a thousand times).
    Until the environmentalists show they understand the actual impact of nuclear accidents, accurately predicting the effects of nuclear accidents, in my view they are a bunch of looney tunes alarmists that should be given ZERO credit when the subject in nuclear power.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2014 @09:24PM (#46743607)

    Wrong. The US isn't the biggest wind energy producer, it's the biggest producer of hot air. China is the single country with the highest amount of energy extracted from wind. The EU combined produces twice as much electricity from wind as the USA, and also more than all of Asia. Germany alone accounts for more than a quarter of the EU's electricity from wind.

  • by rs79 ( 71822 ) <> on Monday April 14, 2014 @12:05AM (#46744269) Homepage

    Portugal’s electricity network operator announced that renewable energy supplied 70 percent of total consumption in the first quarter of this year. []

    I somehow doubt what you are saying.

    If one panel provides all you need during daylight hours you use 2 or 3 or 4 and store it in a battery.

    This, and not nuclear it undisputably the way of the future. There is no such thing as a safe nuclear plant. I'm sure the people that had to leave Fukushima prefecture would disagree about the lack of danger to public health. Would you live there now?

    Germany will be 100% renewable by 5050. Portugal is already 75%.

    We can not afford, on many levels, and do not need: nukes. This has been shown. []
    Germany is the world's top photovoltaics (PV) installer, with a solar PV capacity of 35.996 gigawatts (GW) at the end of February 2014.[2] The German new solar PV installations increased by about 7.6 GW in 2012, and solar PV provided 18 TWh (billion kilowatt-hours) of electricity in 2011, about 3% of total electricity.[3] Some market analysts expect this could reach 25 percent by 2050.[4] Germany has a goal of producing 35% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and 100% by 2050.[5]

    "In July 2009, India unveiled a US$19 billion plan to produce 20 GW of solar power by 2020.[2] Under the plan, the use of solar-powered equipment and applications would be made compulsory in all government buildings, as well as hospitals and hotels.[3] On 18 November 2009, it was reported that India was ready to launch its National Solar Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, with plans to generate 1,000 MW of power by 2013.[4] From August 2011 to July 2012, India went from 2.5 MW of grid connected photovoltaics to over 1,000 MW." []

    " In 2012 China installed 5.0 GW of solar panel capacity. As of 2012, about 8.3 GW of photovoltaics contribute towards power generation in China.[1] Solar water heating is extensively implemented as well.[2]" []

    And we're not even trying hard. Hopefully soon, well. Anything to avoid those damn dirty dangerous nuclear disaster that endanger countless future generations.

  • by kenwd0elq ( 985465 ) <> on Monday April 14, 2014 @12:32AM (#46744345)

    Anthony Watts of WattsUpWithThat compiled an interesting list of "Global Cooling" references all through the 1970's. []

    I may be old, but my memory is still MOSTLY here.....

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