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Old 09-18-2013, 05:50 AM   #1017 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by cbaber View Post
The problem is that there is no solution, yet.
To which problem? Everyone who currently does so can certainly live their comfortable lifestyle using renewable sources of energy right now. If we chose to do so we could do it within a few decades (if we had that much time). The economic cost would not, to all intents and purposes, be even noticeable.

Can we continue to grow the global economy indefinitely? At least in a material sense, I trust that it's obvious we cannot. It is that problem which is harder to solve because it means changing the whole basis of our current economic system.

Fossil fuels will remain the primary power for our world until an alternative source can meet its value. Sure we can supplement our demand with other sources like wind, solar, hydro, etc. but fossil fuels have to be a part of the plan until a viable alternative is found.
Except that the direct "value" of fossil fuels (they're not the only cause of global warming either) is an accounting trick. When you include the external costs of using fossil fuels, renewables (and nuclear) have higher economic value.

That becomes an ideological argument over the belief that the current economic system is a perfect determinant of human value - rather than seeing the evidence that it's not.

Some environmentalists lose support and public opinion because of their harsh stance against fossil fuels, when they should embrace a transition. An example of this extreme stance is Obama's energy secretary telling a room full of people that the only way alternative energy will compete is to force the price of fossil fuels up so that alternative energy looks more appealing. That hurts the economy, and with less money people cling to value, which fossil fuels have.
It's not forcing the price of fossil fuels up, it's a means of properly accounting for the full cost of their use.

It's too late for an easy transition. Had we started seriously even 20 years ago, then that would be an option. That we've had an extra 20 (maybe 30) years of emissions and the current rapid economic development of large population countries means that an "easy" transition isn't going to make it happen fast enough.

If you do look at what the science is indicating about how much CO2 (for one) that we can leave in the atmosphere, the fossil fuel industries should already be finished with. Of course they are not so it's going to be difficult and we're going to have to spend extra to re-sequester what should not have been allowed to be put into the atmosphere in the first place. Who pays for that?

We're also going to have to hope that it isn't already too late and it is not beyond our control anymore. (Maybe SO2 generators, acid rain and perpetually pink skies until the CO2 can be brought back down? That's a scary prospect.)

Originally Posted by Arragonis View Post
Thats kind of a straw man really, it is the policies against cheaper energy that hurt the economy.

On the other hand as the US is almost self sufficient for oil and gas just now it would hurt that economy..
As per full cost accounting above.

EDIT - It's also worth noting that Australia has just rejected artificially high energy prices. Roll on the Euro elections here next May.
I think you will find that there was more than just that single (non) issue that people voted on.