Saturday, June 26, 2010

Government Subsidizes Fossil Fuels

While the Gulf continues to leak black goo as the greatest environmental catastophe of all time continues unabated (and promises to grow much larger as a tropical storm threatens to rain the oily goo hundreds of kilometers inland at some time this hurricane season), it's interesting to realize that the US Government is the responsible agent for subsizing fossil fuels over environmentally-friendly alternatives.

Fossil fuel incentives totaled $72 billion during the 2002-2008 fiscal years, while ethanol received $16.8 billion and all other alternatives only $12.2 billion.

This is why, after the Arab Oil Embargo of the Seventies, America chose to continue on the course of self-destruction in the use of fossil fuels. It's one reason the American Empire is turning to dust. By the middle of the century, America will be a burned-out wreck of an empire with the best and brightest gone to other lands and other opportunities.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Natural Solution To Global Warming

While politicians continue to press for solutions to global warming which involve sticking their hands into your pocket and extracting cash, scientists now report that the ocean may simply "fix" the problem.

Richard Stone writes in a Science magazine article entitled The Invisible Hand Behind A Vast Carbon Reservoir that the oceans were able to store 500 times as much carbon in years past than they do now. Moreover, rising temperatures from global warming will allow the oceans to sequester carbon via this microbial mechanism, eliminating the possibility of a runaway greenhouse effect, the nightmare scenario so many climate scientists have been agonizing over for decades.

Ironically, what human science couldn't figure out how to solve may simply be solved by the smallest organisms on Planet Earth: bacteria.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Warmest Three Months On Record

Jeff Masters reports on his Wunderblog that things are heating up:

The globe recorded its warmest May since record keeping began in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). The May temperature anomaly of 0.69°C (1.24°F) beat the previous record set in 1998 by 0.06°C. We've now had three consecutive warmest months on record, the first time that has happened since 1998. NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies also rated May 2010 as the warmest May on record, tied with May 1998. Both NOAA and NASA rated the year-to-date period, January - May, as the warmest such period on record, and the last 12-month period (June 2009 - May 2010) as the warmest 12-month period on record. May 2010 global ocean temperatures were the second warmest on record, while land temperatures were the warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the 2nd warmest on record in May, according to both the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) groups.

Thermopower will eventually turn the tide, but it will take funding to get it off the shelf and into action.

Oysters Love Oil Spills?

Monday, June 14, 2010

America is the Idiocracy

It's been a long time developing, but it's very clear that the United States of America now qualifies as the ultimate Idiocracy. The reason is that we could wean ourselves off oil simply by investing a miniscule amount of money in research and development of alternative energy---but we continue to refuse to do the obvious.

Now, even Bill Gates recognizes just how stupid America has become:

Microsoft founder Bill Gates urged the United States Sunday to invest billions of dollars a year to bring about a clean energy revolution that would free it from dependence on oil.

In an interview with ABC "This Week," Gates said the disastrous oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico raises the question "how did we get an energy infrastructure that is this fragile?"

Gates and his American Energy Innovation Council last week called for an 11-billion-dollar increase in annual investment in research and development into clean energy technology to 16 billion dollars a year.

"You know, we've got a supply chain where we send a billion dollars a year overseas and you can imagine that there will be disruptions," he said.

"But, in fact, the only real solution is to take American ingenuity and fund R&D to get energy in different forms (so) that we're not sending this much money away and that it's stable and reliable," he said.

The AEIC report released June 9 called for a public commitment to funding innovation in clean energy sources, arguing that individual companies are unlikely to make huge investments needed to make new energy sources commercially viable.

But Gates acknowledged that the US budget was tight.

"The question is can the energy sector finance its own revolution and create these great R&D jobs here in America?" he said.

"The only way you get those things is through the breakthroughs. And I'm optimistic they're there, but we're not making the investment," Gates said. "Today we spend only about four billion dollars on energy R&D compared to 30 billion dollars on health, 80 billion dollars on defense."

The bottom line is that an investment of a handful of millions of dollars is needed to develop Thermopower, a source of energy which will destroy the need to drill for oil to provide energy. But, America suffers from that national equivalent of senility and must now be classed as the ultimate Idiocracy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Unspillable Power

Japan's space agency will sell us unspillable power.