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We will NOT find an alternative to energy dense, easily transportable conventional oil in time to sustain indefinate economic growth.

All alternative energies have one or more disadvantages that do not let them compete with cheap conventional oil.

Given our industrial civilization depends on massive amounts of cheap energy, the reliance on conventional oil is enormous.

The only quick solution I see is a drastic downscaling of economic activity.

Topics: energy

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    Feb 17 2013: Considering the global situation, the haste to find alternative energy sources to sustain economic evolution may make waste. Most of the global nations are not industrial. Many will never be. Considering the situation of industrial nations today, there are enough available resources in the form of coal, oil and gas to sustain us all for an estimated 200 hundred years projected on current estimates of population increases. Concurrently, there is even more energy that could be made available in the form of reactive generation. We also have available other sources, ie. wind and solar although these are limited resources. There is no need to return to a simpler life style unless you choose too.
    Should mankind fail to develop a sustainable energy source in the next few hundred years, then we deserve to return to living in the caves.
    • Feb 17 2013: Yes, coal can sustain us for quite some time... But what about the costs? I can only assume you haven't accepted man made global warming, but as others have said, the price of oil keeps going up. So even without the cost to our planet, aren't you getting sick of lining the wallets of middle eastern billionaires with your own money? As for reactive, well there's no way to make it safe... Just look at that Japanese reactor damaged by an earthquake.

      I know that right now renewables cost more.... But patience, if you browse all the scientific news out there, you can't help but feel that a revolution is coming. So many groups out there working on new & better ways to harness renewables.
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        Feb 17 2013: OK, one at a time.
        1. I don't believe in man made global climate change. I believe that global climate is a dynamic that is based on solar and stellar forces that even Hawkins is still trying to figure out.
        I do believe in man made regional pollution. 20 mil. slobs living in the LA basin ruining one of the most beautiful gardens in the world.
        2. Oil is a commodity and is priced by supply and demand. It is only worth what we are willing to pay for it. We have short sighted suppliers who are looking for the quick buck and long looking suppliers who to sustain their market. May the latter win.
        3. There is no way to make any great concentration of energy safe. Consider the failure of the Hoover Dam. One wag said "only in death are you perfectly safe". There is risk in life, you can step in front of a bus tomorrow.
        4. Renewables? What are renewables?
        Bio? that's smart, we use food or lands to grow food for fuel... I got a full tank, but can't go anywhere because I am staving to death.
        Wind and solar? Inconsistent. that means it needs something to balance supply and then needs to be transmitted. Electrical transmission is a huge loss. Sure, the fuel is free, getting it there is outrageous.
        5. We got enough energy, just not using it smartly. As a global society, we keep going after the low hanging energy fruit.

        So, We use coal and gas for energy. Coal and gas can be transported anywhere with no loss in energy capacity. Focus on LNG and fuel cells for transportation. We need to be-careful with oil, there are too many other products we never consider that are based on oil.
        "man-made global warming"? If the energy put into that effort had been placed in the mitigation of particulate from smokestacks, they would all smell like rose bouquets. But then again, environmentalists are not chemists.
        • Feb 17 2013: Yeah well I'm from bundaberg Australia. I believe we've recently been on the news everywhere. This year we got the biggest flood on record. The river here flowed over, not just rose over, but ripped through the northern half of our small city & now it looks like an apocalyptic war zone. On top of that, 6 known twisters along our coast hit coastal communities. Bear in mind Australia doesn't have a 'tornado allie', & I've only ever heard of one other in my life time.

          Just two years ago we were hit with the 3rd biggest flood on record, which was only slightly behind the 2nd biggest in 1974. Two weeks before the most recent flood our whole country endured the highest ever recorded heat wave over a period of just over a week.

          I know we're just one small part of the globe, but from what I understand no one is arguing anymore about global temperature rise of 1deg and rising, only what's causing it. And I think to ignore the experts and assume we're not having at least some affect amounts to burying our heads in the sand and pretending its not happening.

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