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Carbon Reduction Imperative 

 

 

Due to improving living standards in developed and some developing countries (China India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore etc) the worldwide demand for energy for electricity generation has been growing by around 2% pa worldwide.

 

Worldwide electrical energy is predominantly based on the combustion of fossil fuels (carbon and a proportion of hydrogen). The carbon is released as atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). The consequent exponential release of CO2is believed to be threatening the climate of the planet. This is compounded by the release of methane and other air, water and land pollution (associated with industrialisation) and the widespread disruption of the natural carbon cycle by tree clearing and broad-acre farming and grazing monocultures and damage to marine ecosystems (as a result of exponential population growth).

 

In response, carbon mitigation strategies are in place throughout the developed world to attempt to contain the growth of atmospheric CO2. To facilitate these strategies, renewable energy technologies are projected to make an increasing contribution to world energy consumption. The stronger these carbon mitigation strategies are; the more competitive low carbon and renewable energy becomes.

 
Although there are various experimental and speculative alternative (low carbon and renewable) electricity solutions, this article focuses on those that presently make a significant contribution, or may do within the next 20 years. For the purposes of this analysis these alternatives are:
 
  •  Hydro
  •  Wind
  •  Solar
  •  Geothermal
  •  Biomass/Biogas (including wood, algae and bio/solar)
  •  Marine (tides, waves, currents)
  •  Nuclear (including fusion)

 

Some of these involve more 'whole of life' carbon production in their manufacture; installation; maintenance; demolition; and recycling than others.  The following analysis is based on the assumption that they actually run, and produce useful electricity, for their estimated lifetime.  If they become ‘white elephants’ their carbon footprint becomes very large indeed.

 

 

Comparative Carbon Footprints

 

 

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Source: UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology - Carbon Footprint of Electricity Generation

 

 

 

 

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Travel

Berlin

 

 

 

I'm a bit daunted writing about Berlin.  

Somehow I'm happy to put down a couple of paragraphs about many other cities and towns I've visited but there are some that seem too complicated for a quick 'off the cuff' summary.  Sydney of course, my present home town, and past home towns like New York and London.  I know just too much about them for a glib first impression.

Although I've never lived there I've visited Berlin on several occasions for periods of up to a couple of weeks.  I also have family there and have been introduced to their circle of friends.

So I decided that I can't really sum Berlin up, any more that I can sum up London or New York, so instead I should pick some aspects of uniqueness to highlight. 

Read more: Berlin

Fiction, Recollections & News

To Catch a Thief

(or the case of the missing bra)

 

 

 

It's the summer of 2010; the warm nights are heavy with the scent of star jasmine; sleeping bodies glisten with perspiration; draped, as modestly requires, under a thin white sheet.  A light breeze provides intermittent comfort as it wafts fitfully through the open front door. 

Yet we lie unperturbed.   To enter the premises a nocturnal visitor bent on larceny, or perhaps an opportunistic dalliance, must wend their way past our parked cars and evade a motion detecting flood-light on the veranda before confronting locked, barred doors securing the front and rear entrances to the house.

Yet things are going missing. Not watches or wallets; laptops or phones; but clothes:  "Did you put both my socks in the wash?"  "Where's my black and white striped shirt?" "I seem to be missing several pairs of underpants!"

Read more: To Catch a Thief

Opinions and Philosophy

Issues Arising from the Greenhouse Hypothesis

This paper was first written in 1990 - nearly 30 years ago - yet little has changed.

Except of course, that a lot of politicians and bureaucrats have put in a lot of air miles and stayed in some excellent hotels in interesting places around the world like Kyoto, Amsterdam and Cancun. 

In the interim technology has come to our aid.  Wind turbines, dismissed here, have become larger and much more economic as have PV solar panels.  Renewable energy options are discussed in more detail elsewhere on this website.

 


 

Climate Change

Issues Arising from the Greenhouse Hypothesis

 

Climate change has wide ranging implications for the World, ranging from its impacts on agriculture (through drought, floods, water availability, land degradation and carbon credits) mining (by limiting markets for coal and minerals processing) manufacturing and transport (through energy costs) to property damage resulting from storms.  The issues are complex, ranging from disputes about the impact of human activities on global warming, to arguments about what should be done and the consequences of the various actions proposed.  The following paper explores some of the issues and their potential impact.

 

Read more: Issues Arising from the Greenhouse Hypothesis

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