06-11-2010, 11:48 AM
From the very conservative insurance giant Lloyd's of London:
...Richard Ward, Lloyd's chief executive, said that the environmental and economic costs of fossil fuels are simply too high to justify on-going investments.
"The current generation of business leaders need to rethink their approach to energy risks or be left behind as energy becomes less reliable and more expensive," he said. "We need a long-term plan to reduce consumption and diversify our energy sources."
Speaking at an event organised by Google last month, BP's recently appointed chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg surprised the audience by making the link. "It will be a game changer like Three Mile Island," he said, according to a report in The Times.
06-11-2010, 12:44 PM
The report’s Executive Summary:
1. Businesses which are able to adapt to and take advantage of the new energy reality will prosper.
2. Market dynamics and environmental factors mean business and society can no longer rely on access to affordable and easy to use energy.
3. We are heading towards an oil supply crunch and global price spike.
4. Investment in renewable energy and ‘intelligent’ infrastructure is booming. this presents huge opportunities for new partnerships between energy suppliers, manufacturers and users.
5. Energy infrastructure will become vulnerable as a result of increasingly variable and severe weather patterns
6. Asia will be central to global energy security.
7. Businesses must reduce energy consumption.
8. Lack of global regulation on climate change is creating an environment of uncertainty for business, which is damaging investment plans.
9. Business must address supply chains.
10. The ‘just in time’ business model increases vulnerability to energy supply disruption.
Really nothing new there, and the same old absence of any reasonable alternatives to the current energy supply. I suspect that carbon fuels will bridge the next fifty years or so in many forms-shale, coal, and others from our own domestic production.
A disturbing angle to the report is a call for government intervention in free markets to "speed" alternatives, regardless of their economic viability and a somewhat simplistic view of the possible effects of climate change as a driver.
On the horizon is some very original thinking that may lead to a real and viable solution.
Green Freedom: Turning Greenhouse Gas Into Gasoline ?
The award for most bizarre piece of nuclear power advocacy I've seen in a while goes to this proposal from some scientists at the Los Alamos Laboratory reported on by the New York Times - constructing nuclear power plants to power the conversion of CO2 into petrol. Of course, you could use the nuclear power for electric vehciles instead, and use less than 20% of the energy this process requires. Or you could just skip the nuclear option entirely and plug your electirc vehicles into a clean energy grid instead (hat tip Engineer Poet).
If two scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are correct, people will still be driving gasoline-powered cars 50 years from now, churning out heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere — and yet that carbon dioxide will not contribute to global warming. In a proposal by two scientists, vehicle emissions would no longer contribute to global warming.
The scientists, F. Jeffrey Martin and William L. Kubic Jr., are proposing a concept, which they have patriotically named Green Freedom, for removing carbon dioxide from the air and turning it back into gasoline.
The idea is simple. Air would be blown over a liquid solution of potassium carbonate, which would absorb the carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide would then be extracted and subjected to chemical reactions that would turn it into fuel: methanol, gasoline or jet fuel.
This process could transform carbon dioxide from an unwanted, climate-changing pollutant into a vast resource for renewable fuels. The closed cycle — equal amounts of carbon dioxide emitted and removed — would mean that cars, trucks and airplanes using the synthetic fuels would no longer be contributing to global warming.
Although they have not yet built a synthetic fuel factory, or even a small prototype, the scientists say it is all based on existing technology. “Everything in the concept has been built, is operating or has a close cousin that is operating,” Dr. Martin said.
The Los Alamos proposal does not violate any laws of physics, and other scientists, like George A. Olah, a Nobel Prize-winning chemist at the University of Southern California, and Klaus Lackner, a professor of geophysics at Columbia University, have independently suggested similar ideas. Dr. Martin said he and Dr. Kubic had worked out their concept in more detail than previous proposals.
There is, however, a major caveat that explains why no one has built a carbon-dioxide-to-gasoline factory: it requires a great deal of energy.
To deal with that problem, the Los Alamos scientists say they have developed a number of innovations, including a new electrochemical process for detaching the carbon dioxide after it has been absorbed into the potassium carbonate solution. The process has been tested in Dr. Kubic’s garage, in a simple apparatus that looks like mutant Tupperware.
Even with those improvements, providing the energy to produce gasoline on a commercial scale — say, 750,000 gallons a day — would require a dedicated power plant, preferably a nuclear one, the scientists say.
06-11-2010, 04:13 PM
We DEFINITELY need nuclear NOW, to help us bridge from carbon to renewables, that's for sure!
06-12-2010, 09:49 AM
Latest offshore drilling poll results-
Interesting poll given what has happened and common sense does work.