Spartanfred104 t1_iy99p9s wrote

Yep, it's going to take an absolute monumental shift in the way we live, work and exist. I'm actually really excited for the change, it's going to be hard for many but if it pivots us out of our death spiral I'm all for it.


Spartanfred104 t1_iy925ph wrote

We are already on the downward spiral. "people like you" you mean someone who sees what has to happen. Humans are a species in the overshoot of their ecological environment. This is commonplace. Species go into overshoot all the time and from the point of view of nature, it is a feature and not a bug because overshoot introduces creative disruptions. This may however be the first time that a species has gone into overshoot globally rather than locally.

The size and complexity of civilization is an emergent property of exploiting the stored sunlight in fossil energy. The party will soon end. All use of energy to perform work increases entropy which degrades the physical environment in which it is used. Our problem is that we discovered 500 million years of stored sunlight and used it all up in 200 years.

People searching for substitutes for fossil fuels with the expectation that we won’t have to live with less energy have not thought it through. Learning to live with the same energy people in 1721 used is the challenge we face this century.


Spartanfred104 t1_iy909mn wrote

So you're just going to ignore physics then.

First of all, materials such as iron and copper have to be mined. Mining is extremely destructive to the environment, and is carried out by machines such as giant excavators and huge trucks. All these machines are of course I diesel powered.

To create steel, iron ore and carbon, both non-renewable resources, have to be heated to about 1500 degrees. [The production of one tonne of steel emits about 1.8 tonnes of CO2] ( There are between 225 and 285 tonnes of steel in each turbine, so that's 400 tonnes of CO2 just to produce the steel for one turbine! It also takes plastic to build wind turbines. There are over 50 tonnes of plastic in the blades of a 5 MW wind turbine. Plastic is obviously a petroleum by-product. On top of that, each wind turbine needs between 200 and 1400 litres of a petroleum-based lubricant to work properly, which has to be replaced once every 4-7.

And that's not all. To prevent overloads and short circuits in the switchgear of wind turbines, sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) is used. SF6 is 22,800 times more powerful than CO2 and remains in the atmosphere for almost 3000 years! It is the most powerful greenhouse gas known. Each wind turbine contains about 5kg of SF6, which, if released into the atmosphere, would add the equivalent of about 117 tonnes of CO2. This is about the same as the annual emissions of 25 cars. That's not counting the fact that all the materials have to be mined/extracted, transported to a factory, and then the turbines transported over long distances to their final destination by special convoy, adding tonnes of CO2.


Spartanfred104 t1_iy8dwam wrote

My point is it takes 7x as much energy/resources to produce renewable tech that has a shelf life of 10 years. How is that going to achieve cooling the planet if everything we use now takes 7x the resources and every middle class person wants it?

7x what we emit now is not better.


Spartanfred104 t1_iy8d2sh wrote

In “moving on from oil” we would be walking away from a complex and often-violent and always critical supply and transport system, only to replace it with at least ten more. A world in which we “electrify everything” requires an order of magnitude more copper and lithium and nickel and cobalt and graphite and chromium and zinc and rare earths and silicon and more.

The future is darker, and less green, than you think.