View Single Post
Old 09-17-2013, 12:06 PM   #968 (permalink)
Master EcoModder
cbaber's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Missouri
Posts: 540

Lean and Mean - '98 Honda Civic HX
Team Honda
90 day: 46.69 mpg (US)
Thanks: 30
Thanked 190 Times in 110 Posts
Originally Posted by Alteredstory View Post
While you are correct that the warming will continue for the foreseeable future, you've missed a couple things. The first is that while China's emissions ARE increasing, China is also investing far more than any other country in renewable energy, and in next-generation nuclear power, which means that they are not likely to ever reach the per-person emissions of America.

That said, the longer we DELAY a conversion based on the notion that we "can't do it in time", the more that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the meantime, we're left with the question of what to do about the warming that is happening regardless.

In that area, it turns out, the answer is much the same. Conventional power plants are vulnerable to droughts, floods, heat waves, and storms in a way that most forms of renewable energy generation are not, to at the very least, we need a larger proportion of renewable energy sources to avoid blackouts during heat waves or floods, when people need the energy the most.

There's also the fact that combustion-based power plants currently increase air pollution, which becomes more dangerous in higher temperatures.

There's more to be done than just changing power sources, but that WILL make it easier to cope with the challenges of a warming world.

If you prefer to focus on other ways to adapt, for whatever reason, there are things like the Federal Flood Insurance program that encourages people to build on the beachfront (Sandy showed us how THAT will end up), or the fact that we're currently subsidizing agriculture in regions that are going to need more irrigation as droughts get worse, and as available drinking water becomes more precious. There's a lot of work to be done, no matter what you think is CAUSING the warming.
We are not delaying a conversion based on ideology or politics, it's about money and practicality. It's impossible to move America's goods and foods without fossil fuels. Fossil fuels provide cheap energy and transportation that is accessible to all Americans. We've set up our country to run on fossil fuels and nothing has come along that is a viable alternative.

Ask Japan about nuclear energy and flooding, I am sure they will tell you that energy sources other than fossil fuels are vulnerable to natural disasters as well. Furthermore, renewable energy sources like wind and water are not without their environmental consequences. Wind farms need many more times the land space to produce an equal amount of power to traditional power plants. They also kill birds, are unsightly, produce noise, and are completely reliant on wind levels.

Solar is promising, but the costs associated are hard for mainstream America to adapt. My grandparents recently converted their house to solar, and no longer have an electric bill. The power company actually pays them for the extra energy they produce. If we can all power our homes from solar panels, I think we can go a long way to reducing the load on our power grid. But even with all the government funding to help people convert, it is still expensive and hard for people to justify because global warming is on the bottom of their priority list.
1998 Honda Civic HX - My Project Thread