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The Forum > Article Comments > The global environment in 2050: a realist and liberal democratic perspective > Comments

The global environment in 2050: a realist and liberal democratic perspective : Comments

By Chris Lewis, published 2/3/2020

Can we be optimistic about the planetís environmental future given humanityís pursuit of economic growth and a rising global population?

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"Can we be optimistic about the planetís environmental future given humanityís pursuit of economic growth and a rising global population?"

Yes we can, for many reasons:

1. empirical evidence suggests global warming and increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations are net beneficial, not harmful.
- https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/12/18/3575
- https://doi.org/10.1007/s10018-020-00263-w

2. Economic growth is beneficial, not harmful. It reduces poverty, improves health, longevity education, infrastructure, etc. Ongoing global economic growth will be massively beneficial for the poorest countries, especially in Africa, South America and SE Asia. We should do everything we can to increase economic growth.

3. Population growth is not a problem. To support increasing population we need increasing food, water and energy. There is no shortage of agricultural land. Agricultural productivity is constrained not by available land but by poor infrastructure and governance. Energy and water are effectively unlimited. Fresh water can be produced by desalination from seawater and energy. Energy is effectively unlimited - nuclear fuels are effectively unlimited and petrol, diesel, jet fuel, etc can be produced from electricity and seawater.
Posted by Peter Lang, Monday, 2 March 2020 9:48:11 AM
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Given our slow response over the past 30 years it seems a dramatic change in attitude is required. This appears unlikely so long as we are promised and demand more of everything except hardship.

Our behaviour towards the approaching danger so far is well-described by Tolstoy in War and Peace:

"With the enemy's approach to Moscow, the Moscovites' view of their situation did not grow more serious but on the contrary became even more frivolous, as always happens with people who see a great danger approaching. At the approach of danger there are always two voices that speak with equal power in the human soul: one very reasonably tells a man to consider the nature of the danger and the means of escaping it; the other, still more reasonably, says that it is too depressing and painful to think of the danger, since it is not in man's power to foresee everything and avert the general course of events, and it is therefore better to disregard what is painful till it comes, and to think about what is pleasant.

In solitude a man generally listens to the first voice, but in society to the second. So it was now with the inhabitants of Moscow. It was long since people had been as gay in Moscow as that year."
Posted by Dayton, Monday, 2 March 2020 10:09:16 AM
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While one can and does commend the rollout of solar cookers etc in India and elsewhere, they could do better and deploy the Aussie invented two-tank bio-digester system, that converts all their local onsite organic waste into storable methane.

A gas that can be used in the cooking with endless free hot water when it fires up the diesel genny that lights their hovels Or everything when it is used to fire up a ceramic fuel cell which then creates a 50+% as a salable surplus! Which will repay an interest-free loan over time!regardless of the means of the affected/improved households!

The exhaust product from the latter in mostly pristine water vapour given the gas is not burned but part of a chemical reaction that for simplicity's sake could be viewed as electrolysis in reverse. And the combination comes with an 80% energy coefficient. provides endless free hot water.

The waste products of the bio-digestor are completely sanitised, carbon-rich soil improver and completely sanitised reusable water drinkable once passed through an activated carbon filter? If that is a requirement during drought conditions or some such?

Coal has to be phased out around the world along with fossil fuel, there are far more affordable CARBON FREE alternatives some of which restore complete independence and totally independent control/economic sovereignty!

Along with a turbocharged economy and new status as an energy superpower! And currently prevented by prohibitions placed solely to protect current profit curves and carbon sourced energy products, big nuclear the grid, solar panel installers and big pharma. Assisted in this endeavour by their(bought and paid for) puppet pollies?

Well, who placed the prohibitions, created the preventing regulations will die in a ditch before allowing their removal and supported by a veritable tide of bogus science/reasons for this abysmally absurd asinine activity?

Well, Ah say, brother, need a splash of cash to assist with the electioneering campaign?

Understand the reluctance to mention its name ( shush, carbon-free nuclear power and just too cheap/we'll all be ruined) or the sullen silence yet, genius?TBC.
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Monday, 2 March 2020 10:29:22 AM
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Currently, the hydrogen economy is unaffordable!

One cubic metre of hydrogen has the calorific value of one litre of unleaded petrol. and nobody in their right mind/paying their own fuel bill with their own money? Is going to cop a $15-$16.00 a litre/cubic metre fuel bill,

Well, it's by electrolysis, claims the pump attendant! Don't care two whatsits if it's by Phar lap, it's too dammed dear, would be the old timer's response?

Besides, methane can be compressed as a lower carbon-producing fuel if say we need future air fuel, And runways could have rail guns installed to all but catapult planes skyward, saving fuel. Albeit, I'd sooner go by electrically-propelled airships held aloft by the helium in their innards.

And powered by their solar panel paint job on the exterior. Not new science, just not as efficient as much heavier solar panels!

Or nuclear-powered submersibles that can regularly exceed fifty knots all while providing an armchair ride even through the wildest future tempest!

The cost of producing hydrogen can be halved via the assistance of a catalyst. And vastly more so, when the current cost of electricity is reduced from 24 + cents PKWH to less than one cent and doable with nuclear waste burning MSR!

When that day comes and it must, we'll be able to pump hydrogen into your gas tank for less than a dollar per cubic metre! It's the current price gouged cost of coal-fired energy that's the prob!

And what do you save if the fuel source is coal and the source of the gas is derived via cooked coal and the carbon disposed of by technology still in cloud cookoo land? And proposed by our Cheif scientist, no less?TBC.
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Monday, 2 March 2020 11:21:25 AM
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Alan B might like to reconsider the claim that the product of methane combustion in a fuel cell is mostly water. The products of methane combustion, whether in a gas stove or a fuel cell, are water and carbon dioxide. The products are the same but the way the energy given out in the reaction is captured is different.
Posted by Dayton, Monday, 2 March 2020 12:28:41 PM
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Meanwhile once again this essay gives a very sobering assessment of the global situation - pointing out that business as usual is not an option.
http://www.da-peace.org/excerpt-two-is-not-peace
Posted by Daffy Duck, Monday, 2 March 2020 1:00:07 PM
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