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This subject's pages:          Bungling Climate Change          
Footnotes & Links

Environmentalism's Nuclear Disaster: Advocating Coal Instead Of Nuclear,
a terrible mistake that could have been easily avoided and remains quickly and easily mitigated.

Bungling Climate Change

"We have the best government money can buy". - Mark Twain


"No Nukes" is the major reason we failed to stop Climate Change.
Not using nukes to fight Climate Change guarantees we will be using nukes to fight each other for food when Climate Change causes our food crops to fail.

The Climate Change Story - What happened after World War II to make it so bad.

Ignoring nuclear electricity, environmentalists persisted in bungling Climate Change by advocating coal electricity.
Planet Earth's CO2 has been stable at about 270 ppm
(parts of CO2 per million parts of air) since the end of the last ice age about 13,000 years ago. 
This environmental stability produced an "optimal" environment that enabled humans to develop agriculture and civilizations for the first time.
Now, we've lost it and can't get it back.
  (Click on image, right, to see temperatures of Planet Earth for last 550 million years to see how precious our current climate is compared to the "Ice Ages".) 

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President Eisenhower advocated switching from coal electricity to nuclear electricity

 ("Atoms for Peace"
pdf) in 1953 when CO2 was at 312 ppm. 
We didn't realize it then, but "Atoms for Peace" was the world's last chance to avoid the worst of Global Warming.
(Thorium nuclear heat can be 2,000 times cheaper than coal. At the time, Eisenhower was thinking nuclear electricity would be cheaper than coal electricity for humanity's impoverished third-world masses.  At the time, many leading environmentalists thought global cooling, not warming, was going to happen.)


Incredibly, in the 1980s, after CO2 climbed to 340 ppm, environmentalists still preferred coal instead of nuclear to make electricity.

(CO2-induced global warming Climate Change was beginning to be understood by the environmentalists by 1980 but they still wanted emerging nations to grow on coal instead of nuclear.)

Today, environmentalists are still putting their anti-nuclear agendas ahead of stopping Climate Change. 

We are now living in a Climate Changing World with CO2 at 407 ppm and there's no going back.  Thanks, environmentalists.
It's difficult to understand how, in light of the ppm evidence above, environmentalists are continuing to oppose the advice of Dr. Hansen and many others to switch from coal to nuclear.
It's just plain unrealistic to expect windmills and solar cells to be able to power a highly industrialized world that is consuming the energy equivalent of over 200 million barrels of oil per day.
How could so many brilliant men possess so little intelligence?
Nuclear energy - both electricity and thermal - is any country's quickest, cheapest pathway to prosperity.
With more cheap power per person, more people will find a pathway to prosperity. The United States is a 10,000 Watt-hour per day per person society; Mexico, 2,000 W-hpd; Haiti, 500 W-hpd.
 


See also:  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/jan/01/on-its-hundredth-birthday-in-1959-edward-teller-warned-the-oil-industry-about-global-warming

Moir - Teller Association.pdf          MSR - Thorium-Fueled Underground Power Plant Based On Molten Salt Technology - moir_teller.pdf          Molten Salt Reactor Adventure.pdf

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What did we do to get ourselves into such a Climate Change mess?

Heat engines produce the modern miracle of converting heat energy into mechanical energy - first by steam engines using external combustion fires from coal, later by internal combustion engines such as gasoline, diesel, and jet engines - powered by fossil fuels.

Heat engines have proven themselves to be a very good thing for mankind. 

Since the invention of the steam engine in 1712, heat engines have enabled the world's population to grow from less than 1 billion to over 7 billion.

By replacing horses, which soon grew tired and had to be replaced with a fresh team, fatigue-free steam engines enabled man to move very heavy railroad trains very rapidly over very long distances. Food from distant farms became cheaper and more available.
In the United States, where a coast-to-coast trip on foot could take 4 months and a 24 hour stage coach 30 days, by 1870, 24 hour trains could do it in 3 1/2 days.
All of a sudden countries grew smaller. In the history of man, this never happened before.

Likewise, ships were freed from the tyranny of wind energy. Much larger steam powered ships with much smaller crews could travel anywhere in the world on predictable schedules at predictable costs.
All of a sudden the world grew smaller. In the history of man, this never happened before.

On September 4, 1882, Thomas Edison's electricity generating station took mechanical energy made by steam energy created by heat energy and converted the mechanical energy into a higher form of energy, electricity. This first practical use of energy was used to power 400 light bulbs in 82 different buildings. By converting the electricity to heat, the bulbs glowed.
All of a sudden the world could have instant, safe, 24-hour illumination. No longer would night halt man's activities. In the history of man, this never happened before.

Unfortunately, burning one ton of coal adds 2.86 tons of Climate Changing carbon dioxide to Planet Earth's air.
In the history of man, Climate Change has happened several times before. Both hominids (
human-like) and modern man (Homo sapiens) used fire to help survive the ice ages.
 

Now, there are too many people making too many fossil fuel fires.  Perhaps 3 billion fires - one for every several people.
Every bright dot below shows the location of dozens of large industrial fires and hundreds of thousands of small cooking fires.
(Click to zoom in.)

   (Right) The original steam engine: Newcomen's 1712 atmospheric pressure steam engine.
Used as a water pump, it couldn't turn shafts and wheels to replace windmills and water wheels. 

It wasn't really good enough and was replaced by the much smaller, cheaper, and more versatile Watt steam engine 70 years later - about 1780.
 It did replace the much weaker windmills and water wheels and went on to power locomotives, steam boats, and electricity generating plants.
 The Watt steam engine enabled mankind to flourish. Watt steam engines continue to be made today - almost 250 years later.
 

Technical evolution is also the story of the nuclear reactor.  70 years later, today's somewhat problematical huge water-cooled 1950 reactors are about to be replaced with safer, smaller, cheaper, and more versatile liquid fuel molten-salt cooled reactors. This next generation of reactors - Small Modular Reactors or SMRs - will enable construction of electricity generating power plants that will resemble today's medium size coal and natural gas turbine power plants in size and cost, but will also have the load-following ability necessary for complimentary integration into electrical grids that already have large amounts of wind and solar electricity connected.

The first of the small modular reactor types, the water-cooled, solid fuel NuScale power plant, a "bridge technology" reactor, is being built on Idaho National Laboratories property and
will be capable of providing load-following support to the large number of wind farms located in the Northwestern United States. 
Check out their web site:  http://www.nuscalepower.com/


 

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How can you be against  Climate Change and NOT be for  nuclear?
What We Can Do

  Nuclear community's message to United Nations  Environment.pdf

I have collected information on the world's coal power plants and think about 3/4 of them could have their coal boilers quickly and economically converted to small nuclear boilers such as being proposed by ThorCon.
This won't end Climate change but will end more CO2 emissions than is possible with windmills, solar cells, or power plant carbon capture combined. To coal to nuclear section 
>

Nuclear powered machines (Skyscrubbers) to directly capture carbon dioxide from the air and put it back into the ground are possible.  To Skyscrubber section  > 
The safer nuclear reactors in the pipeline were invented as part of the Manhattan Project but shelved because their used fuel couldn't be weaponized.   To New Nuclear section 
> 

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Energy is the master resource.
Without energy nothing happens. The more energy we have, the richer we are. The United States is a 10,000 Watt-hour per day per person society; Mexico, 2,000 Wpd; Haiti, 500 Wpd.
  This term covers both the heat and the electricity components of a country's energy consumption. 1 Watt-hour = 3.412 BTU or 3,600 Joules.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000-watt_society 

What would a modern industrialized world powered only by Nuclear + Hydrogen + Biomass energy look like?

Author's rough order-of-magnitude guesstimate for ALL global energy - both electricity AND heat - for the world by 2050:
  2,000 large 1,500 megaWatt water cooled nuclear reactors for mega-city electricity,
 ■
5,000 500 mW(e) ThorCon coal-boiler-to-nuclear conversion steam generators to quickly and cheaply fix the largest coal power plants that are making 30% of all Climate Change
 ■
300  "ThorConIsles" barge mounted nuclear power plants for coastal populations in second and third world countries
 ■
150,000 medium 300 to 25 mW molten salt cooled nuclear reactors for smaller city electricity
  100,000 small 50 to 5 mW helium cooled very high temperature pebble bed nuclear reactors (VHTR) for chemical and biochemical synthesis processes
  One or more islands in the Ross Sea (Antarctica) for isolation of radioactive worn-out nuclear reactors and waste nuclear fuel
  5,000 nuclear powered sea water desalinators
  Miscellaneous intermittent small sources of wind, solar, and hydro electricity
  600+ VHTR nuclear-powered carbon-neutral combustion fuel refineries evolved from today's oil refineries producing unlimited volumes of "drop-in" gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and heating gas.  These would be synthetic carbon-neutral combustion fuels - not fossil fuels - that are either half as expensive or twice as powerful
For the United States, the "Billion Ton Biomass" program could be dedicated to supplying biomass to the nuclear powered carbon-neutral combustion fuel refineries - not burning it.
See: https://energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/downloads/2016-billion-ton-report-advancing-domestic-resources-thriving-bioeconomy   (pdf)

Object Total: 262,900 - That's 262 thousand, 900, folks!
 The more objects, the less likely it will happen, the more expensive, less reliable it will be.
Reference:  World electric power plant reference:  http://www.platts.com/Products.aspx?xmlFile=worldelectricpowerplantsdatabase.xml  Perhaps the most complete database of it's type.

  Oh, yes, and the progression of Climate Change would be stopped and perhaps partially reversed.

What would a modern industrialized world powered only by Wind + Water + Solar energy look like?

Stanford University is looking at what it might take to provide all global energy using only wind, water, and solar power:
  2.5 million 5-mW wind turbines (60/40 mix of on- and off-shore) (37%)
  409,000 0.75-mW wave generators (0.5%)
  935 100-mW geothermal plants (0.7%)
  1,058 1.300 -mW hydroelectric plants (4%)
  30,000 1-mW tidal turbines (0.06%)
  1.8 billion 5-kW residential rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems (15%)
  75 million 100-kW commercial PV systems (12%)
  250,000 50-mW solar PV plants (21%)
  21,500 100-mW concentrating solar power (CSP) plants with thermal storage (10%)
  13,000 100-mW CSP plants with thermal storage (additional for grid support)
  85,000 50-mW solar thermal storage plants (for direct heating) 

Object Total: 1,878,310,493 - That's 1 billion, 878 million, 310 thousand, 493, folks!
 The more objects, the less likely it will happen, the more expensive, less reliable it will be.
Reference: 199 page pdf draft: http://stanford.io/1lvUaVS  (pdf)  [90.004.17.3.55], [10.256 to 10.259] 
This is a valuable work-in-progress, well worth studying if only to learn the mindset of those opposed to nuclear and the possibility of clean coal and carbon-neutral combustion. 

Scientist vs. scientist - an escalating fight over renewable energy.pdf  

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CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2) in the air:

Like a one-way blanket, adding CO2 to the air slows the transfer of the Sun's heat back out into the cold of space at night, REDUCING Planet Earth's ability to cool itself.  Due to Planet Earth's mass, this increase in heat will take hundreds of years to reach a new stable temperature.

The curve below shows how increasing Climate Change's "blanket" amount will cause Planet Earth to hold in more heat and get warmer.
Once the air gets saturated with CO2, adding more CO2 has little additional heating effect.

StoppingClimateChange:  Planet Earth's air CO2 now has three distinctly different components:
 1. The natural CO2 in the air we have always needed to keep the world at a comfortable 59°F.
 2. The fossil fuel CO2 we recently added by powering the heat engines that built and maintain the modern world - Climate Change's CO2.
 3. The fossil fuel CO2 we are going to add soon to the air to extend the heat engine's benefits for the world's remaining 1/3 still living in poverty.
The other gases are beyond the scope of this article.

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First Wind, Then Fossil Fuel Heat Engines, Powered The Human Race

 

The dramatic increase in the world's population came largely as a result of having heat engines rather than horses, wind, sails, and waterwheels do much of life's labors.  (Left)

5 billion people use heat engines to grow food, transport, and comfortably shelter themselves.  This has resulted in increased life expectancies.   (Example: Japan, 84.6 years.)

2 billion people are not able to take advantage of heat engines.  Their average life span is short.  (Example: Central African Republic, 48.5 years.)

It has been speculated that there is a heat engine or a fire for every two humans on earth.  That would mean perhaps as many as 4 billion fires.  It is understandable that this number of fires, burning more or less continuously, would add a substantial amount of fire's major combustion product, carbon dioxide gas (CO2), to the air.

Frankly, it is the fossil fuel powered heat engine that enables humanity to swarm.

Recall the song "John Henry"?  It marked the end of muscle slavery and the beginning of wage slavery.  Wage slavery issues are what is keeping Trump in office.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Henry_(folklore)

Energy enables modern states to project their power over very long distances. Loss of energy causes modern states to fail.

Study Shows Comparison Of Countries’ Indirect Emissions From Battery-Electric Vehicles.

The Detroit Free Press (11/13, Lawrence) reports a new study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute “finds that gas-powered vehicles need to average 55.4 miles per gallon in the United States or 51.5 mpg worldwide in order to produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a battery-electric vehicle.” Most electric cars “aren’t oil or coal free” – their batteries “are charged by electricity generated at power plants” using mostly oil or coal. The disparity “between electric vehicles and conventional gas-powered cars depends on what is used to make the electricity that charges a battery.” Michigan researcher Michael Sivak said, “The reasons for conducting such a country-by-country comparison are that the indirect emissions from (battery-electric vehicles) depend on the mix of fuel sources used to generate electricity and countries differ widely in their fuel-source mix.”

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Footnotes & Links

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