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Old 02-08-2019, 06:46 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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How much would a green new deal actually cost?

I can't get a straight answer online. Either there are no figures or the figures are all over the place.
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Old 02-08-2019, 07:29 PM
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I can't get a straight answer online. Either there are no figures or the figures are all over the place.
There's no solid plan to run accurate numbers from. We only just got to a still pretty vague non-binding resolution that sets out broad concepts. Someone might get around to running numbers now that we've finally gotten this far using massive amounts of assumptions but there' hasn't really been time.
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Old 02-08-2019, 07:48 PM
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One thing to remember is that maintaining the existing fossil fuel energy system will cost tens of trillions of dollars over the next few decades--so just the fact that the new system will cost tens of trillions of dollars doesn't necessarily mean it will be more expensive than the status quo.

Paul Hawken was the editor of a book called Drawdown which discusses lots of possibilities and costs. This information is on a website called:
https://www.drawdown.org/solutions

[He is interested in reversing global warming, not just limiting the increase.]

Last edited by PastTense; 02-08-2019 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:11 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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One thing to remember is that maintaining the existing fossil fuel energy system will cost tens of trillions of dollars over the next few decades--so just the fact that the new system will cost tens of trillions of dollars doesn't necessarily mean it will be more expensive than the status quo.

Paul Hawken was the editor of a book called Drawdown which discusses lots of possibilities and costs. This information is on a website called:
https://www.drawdown.org/solutions

[He is interested in reversing global warming, not just limiting the increase.]
I support a green new deal. I agree with Cortez when she says we always have trillions to fund wars and trillions to fund tax cuts on the rich, but when it comes to health care, renewables, education, etc. its always 'how will we pay for it'.

So I'm in favor of the idea, I'm just curious how much it'd cost. I've seen figures of 2 trillion, 5 trillion, 20 trillion. I have no idea.

5 trillion over 10 years is fine by me. I'd happily pay taxes to fund an extra 500 billion a year in renewable energy.

FWIW, the US currently only spends about 40-50 billion a year on renewables.
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:27 PM
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You also need to include the opportunity cost of the millions of able-bodied people who will quit their jobs, choose not to work, and get paid for it.
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:45 PM
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:37 PM
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You also need to include the opportunity cost of the millions of able-bodied people who will quit their jobs, choose not to work, and get paid for it.
Whose Green New Deal have you been reading? Tom Green's? Seth Green's? The closest plank in the Green New Deal I can find is the exact opposite of this.

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We will end unemployment in America once and for all by guaranteeing a job at a living wage for every American willing and able to work.
Most of what I've read, including on the site I linked to, are idealistic goals rather than practical plans. The purpose today appears to shift the discussion toward a new mentality. Notice that no timeline is ever given for reaching those goals. Putting a dollar figure on it is irrelevant. That makes as much sense as putting a dollar figure on Civil Rights in 1955.
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:44 PM
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One thing to remember is that maintaining the existing fossil fuel energy system will cost tens of trillions of dollars over the next few decades--so just the fact that the new system will cost tens of trillions of dollars doesn't necessarily mean it will be more expensive than the status quo.
This is an essential point. We should talk about the net cost or net gain, not the absolute cost.

A lot of the conversation against universal health care focuses on absolute cost as well, as though we're currently paying nothing for health care in our country and we need to find out what it'd cost if we started throwing dollars that way. That massively distorts the conversation.

Let's not let something similar sidetrack the discussion of the Green New Deal.
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:53 PM
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How much will it cost to rebuild every building in the US....ditch nuclear...ditch fossil fuels...and genetically modify cows to not pass gas?

I kid
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Old 02-08-2019, 10:08 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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This is an essential point. We should talk about the net cost or net gain, not the absolute cost.

A lot of the conversation against universal health care focuses on absolute cost as well, as though we're currently paying nothing for health care in our country and we need to find out what it'd cost if we started throwing dollars that way. That massively distorts the conversation.

Let's not let something similar sidetrack the discussion of the Green New Deal.
Fine by me, include the cost of savings in the overall cost.

For example, there are something like 125 million households in the US. Assume you gave each one $20,000 worth of solar panels, thats about $2.5 trillion. Rooftop solar is about $3/watt, but industrial scale solar is closer to $1/watt. I have no idea how much it'd cost to cover residential households with pure solar and that is only part of climate change (agriculture, industry and transportation are all important too). But for the sake of argument, assume 2.5 trillion to cover all houses in solar (which is probably a very high estimate but oh well).

But then after that all the households get free energy for the next 30 years, if not longer.

Then again, who knows if there are enough raw materials to build that many solar panels.
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Old 02-08-2019, 10:21 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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How much will it cost to rebuild every building in the US....ditch nuclear...ditch fossil fuels...and genetically modify cows to not pass gas?

I kid
With cows, just adding seaweed could reduce their methane emissions.

https://foodtank.com/news/2017/06/se...hane-emission/
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Old 02-09-2019, 01:13 AM
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For example, there are something like 125 million households in the US. Assume you gave each one $20,000 worth of solar panels, thats about $2.5 trillion. Rooftop solar is about $3/watt, but industrial scale solar is closer to $1/watt. I have no idea how much it'd cost to cover residential households with pure solar and that is only part of climate change (agriculture, industry and transportation are all important too). But for the sake of argument, assume 2.5 trillion to cover all houses in solar (which is probably a very high estimate but oh well).

But then after that all the households get free energy for the next 30 years, if not longer.
The entire proposal that Cortez and Merkley put forth yesterday is too long to discuss in one post, so let's just focus on this post about solar panels and we'll see how unrealistic the discussion is. Even if the government went out to the money orchard and picked $2.5 trillion off the money trees, we would not get free energy for all households. Not even close. The problems being:
  • There's a time called "night" during which the sun does not shine. There are possibilities to store energy in batteries during the daytime for use in the nighttime, but that costs even more money.
  • There are weather events such as clouds, fog, rain, snow, and ice that block solar panels, sometimes partially, sometimes fully. This is not a minor issue. For example, in Minnesota, two feet of snow may fall in November and not melt until March. I doubt that Minnesotans would want to risk going all winter without electricity.
  • There are some places where the sun don't shine, or at least don't shine very much, ranging from valleys in West Virginia to buildings in New York City overshadowed by taller buildings.
  • There are some large buildings where you just don't have enough space. For instance, if you had a 50-floor condo tower, you could put solar panels on the roof, but even in full sunshine you wouldn't get enough electricity to power the building.
  • When demand for electricity is high, there is no way to crank up solar panels for extra output.
  • Solar panels are not completely free of environmental concerns. Numerous toxic chemicals are used to manufacture them, for starters.

So all told, there's simply no way get all our electricity needs met by solar. There is literally no place of significant size on earth that gets all of its electricity from solar. And as for subsidies, it should be noted that we've been heavily subsidizing solar for decades yet it still gives us just 1.3% of total electricity.
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Old 02-09-2019, 01:33 AM
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The entire proposal that Cortez and Merkley put forth yesterday is too long to discuss in one post, so let's just focus on this post about solar panels and we'll see how unrealistic the discussion is. Even if the government went out to the money orchard and picked $2.5 trillion off the money trees, we would not get free energy for all households. Not even close. The problems being:
  • There's a time called "night" during which the sun does not shine. There are possibilities to store energy in batteries during the daytime for use in the nighttime, but that costs even more money.
  • There are weather events such as clouds, fog, rain, snow, and ice that block solar panels, sometimes partially, sometimes fully. This is not a minor issue. For example, in Minnesota, two feet of snow may fall in November and not melt until March. I doubt that Minnesotans would want to risk going all winter without electricity.
  • There are some places where the sun don't shine, or at least don't shine very much, ranging from valleys in West Virginia to buildings in New York City overshadowed by taller buildings.
  • There are some large buildings where you just don't have enough space. For instance, if you had a 50-floor condo tower, you could put solar panels on the roof, but even in full sunshine you wouldn't get enough electricity to power the building.
  • When demand for electricity is high, there is no way to crank up solar panels for extra output.
  • Solar panels are not completely free of environmental concerns. Numerous toxic chemicals are used to manufacture them, for starters.

So all told, there's simply no way get all our electricity needs met by solar. There is literally no place of significant size on earth that gets all of its electricity from solar. And as for subsidies, it should be noted that we've been heavily subsidizing solar for decades yet it still gives us just 1.3% of total electricity.
That is like asking 'what good is new born baby for?'

https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2.../#40ac0709d440
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We Could Power The Entire World By Harnessing Solar Energy From 1% Of The Sahara
https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...t-people-think
Quote:
At a political level California has just legislated a move to 100% renewables, while at home South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT are on track to be net 100% renewables in the next few years. With everyone from tech billionaires to school students demanding 100% renewables, pressure for a more rapid shift to renewables is likely to continue to build.

Many still think that 100% renewables can’t be done. In 2017 ANU, Energy Networks Australia and CSIRO joined the ranks of Australia’s leading institutions on energy that have now done their own plans to show Australia can reliably achieve 100% renewables. This takes the number of 100% renewables plans for Australia to more than 10.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 02-09-2019 at 01:34 AM.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:48 AM
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Without comment on this Green New Deal concept (which indeed does not appear from the resume I have read in the FT to be very coherent)
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So all told, there's simply no way get all our electricity needs met by solar. There is literally no place of significant size on earth that gets all of its electricity from solar. And as for subsidies, it should be noted that we've been heavily subsidizing solar for decades yet it still gives us just 1.3% of total electricity.
The evocation of subsidies is out-of-date by almost a decade, presumably from the American right wing ideological hostility to solar (why this is the case is puzzling to me, but I guess it may be the reaction to the annoying Left-Green utopia visions promoted by the green Left activists who are not very literate in the economic or the engineering. As annoying as such people are, it is a grave error to dismiss the technology for political ideological reaction.

Since approximately 5 years and certainly since 3 years, for regions of good incoming solar - new Solar PV for the utility scale generation and even CP is now grid competitive and indeed is beating new coal and even some natural gas installation on a purely market basis, no investment subsidies or preferences on the pricing.

That is the market reality and why the market for new coal is collapsing despite the US right wing obsessions with the fossil fuels. The classic renewable energy generation industrial models of the utility scale solar and the same for the wind for the on and the off shore are become on unsubsidized basis the cheapest new sources across the board by 2020 - the sourcing of this fits exactly the information that the investment bank I work for generates internally. And my employers, they are not in this area to amuse themselves or to feel warm and fuzzy, they are examing the entirely free market investments and giving strong preference to renewable over fossil now. It is a gross error in your thinking if you repeat the US right's political talking points about this subject, they are out of date now.

The scaling of the solar installations on the utility scale has no begun - citing back to the historical beginning with the subsidies is no longer a supportable view if you are pretending to have a market based analysis and not the politics. It must be observed that while there were errors, the concept of the early subsidies to help the technology catch up to the mature fossil fuels infrastructure did play out very much as the market economists previsions, although did not reach the Utopia Forecasts of the green hard-left activists. It is not to say there were not stupid things done and some stupid promotion / subsidy programs not well designed for the accelerated development of market scale RE but enough was done right to work according to the sober economists forecast.

Of course to the extent that if the US left factions like that of this new young woman promote the unrealistic objectives in disconnect with a good grounding in the market, then they can by unrealistic uneconomic approach undermine progress and give the rhetorical sticks to the right in the USA which seems here to be 100% backwards looking obsessed more with promoting the Buggy Driver vision of energy to put a stick in the eye of the annoying left than the fundamental of the economic competitveness.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:59 AM
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While it is nice to cite the idea of the Sahara as an energy pump, there are in fact the severe infrastructure challenges that render the idea not very practical in the nearer term. Morocco is the only country for the region making a very good progress (and it is good progress overall), but has the infrastructure problems.

but in areas with large insolation and using recent storage technology development such as the molten salts, and with now the economies of scale in the utility scale solar investment (and a reasonable standardization) it is indeed no longer coherent and only either ignorantly out of date or purely political to evoke "subsidies" with respect to the subject of a substantial conversion of electric power generation.

But of course although electrical power is an increasingly important component of the energy consumption of any of the modern economies, it is not the only component and it is equally not realstic as some of the green hard-left and activists are promoting for a conversion of the Transport sector to a majority or even a heavy electrical basis, so the fossil is not realistic to phase out rapidly, not without a nasty and unpleasant economic impact.

It is to me useful to not confuse the Electricity with the general energy, already making substantial progress for the electrical production with the mix of the nuclear and the RE can very substantially improve the economics of the long-term energy economy while also addressing the climate change.
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Old 02-09-2019, 05:23 AM
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I can't get a straight answer online.
I'm afraid any straight answer will be wrong. In the thread about single-payer cost, one "side" forumulated scare figures by ignoring the trillions in insurance premiums that would no longer need to be paid.

For example: Petroleum-based energy is subject to big subsidies. Might these subsidies be phased out as renewables are promoted? I can't wade through reports but Chevron's recent tax rate was less than 3%. In 2017 Exxon's net income after taxes was higher than its net income before taxes!
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:37 AM
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For example: Petroleum-based energy is subject to big subsidies. Might these subsidies be phased out as renewables are promoted? I can't wade through reports but Chevron's recent tax rate was less than 3%. In 2017 Exxon's net income after taxes was higher than its net income before taxes!
This is a string of non sequitors.

The effective tax rate of a large entity undertaking large scale capital investments may indeed sans any subsidy be low in many circumstances. These factoids tell you almost nothing useful by themselves.

It is of course true that the primary energy sector - which is of course dominated by the fossil fuels right now - is subject to massive market distortions due to the public pressure and the populist politics along with the big entity influences - with incoherent public subventions to consumption of fuels overlapping with the subventions to infrastructure overlapping with the subventions to generation....

It is a huge incoherent mess relative to any ideal free market but voila, such are human beings always desiring the incoherent things.
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Old 02-09-2019, 09:34 AM
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How much will it cost to rebuild every building in the US....ditch nuclear...ditch fossil fuels...and genetically modify cows to not pass gas?

I kid
Far less than not doing anything would cost, that's for sure.
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Old 02-09-2019, 09:57 AM
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Far less than not doing anything would cost, that's for sure.
You sure? Why don't we just move NYC and Miami in-land? Or put all the buildings on giant poles like in The Jetsons?

Last edited by Dale Sams; 02-09-2019 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:32 AM
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How about building giant CO2 scrubbers? Or paint everything white so it reflects the sun? Giant umbrellas? Paint the moon black?
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:58 AM
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It's good to see that you're here for a serious conversation.
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Old 02-09-2019, 11:13 AM
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so let's just focus on this post about solar panels and we'll see how unrealistic the discussion is...The problems being:
[*]There's a time called "night" during which the sun does not shine...[*]There are weather events such as clouds, fog, rain, snow, and ice that block solar panels, sometimes partially, sometimes fully...[*]There are some places where the sun don't shine, or at least don't shine very much, ranging from valleys in West Virginia to buildings in New York City overshadowed by taller buildings.[*]There are some large buildings where you just don't have enough space....[*]When demand for electricity is high, there is no way to crank up solar panels for extra output.[*]Solar panels are not completely free of environmental concerns. ...

So all told, there's simply no way get all our electricity needs met by solar. ...
Nobody plans to get all electricity needs by solar; the plan is to use multiple sources including wind, hydropower, geothermal...[some include nuclear, some don't]

While earlier solar usually referred to rooftop panels currently there is massive interest in utility scale solar farms, so it doesn't matter that particularly buildings don't have the room for panels or particular locations don't get sun.

You can also move the electricity large distances (although at a cost because of energy losses and the cost of power lines).

You can overbuild so while it will be producing more electricity than needed when both the sun is shining and the wind is blowing briskly, the system will usually still be adequate when only one is available.

Finally there is energy storage ranging from batteries to pumped hydro to hydrogen...

Or if you still need a few percent of needs to be met by fossil fuels you can use carbon capture and pull an equal amount of carbon out of the air.

And of course nothing is completely free of environmental and health concerns; it's a question of magnitude. Coal of course dwarfs all others.

Last edited by PastTense; 02-09-2019 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 02-09-2019, 02:30 PM
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This is a string of non sequitors.

The effective tax rate of a large entity undertaking large scale capital investments may indeed sans any subsidy be low in many circumstances. These factoids tell you almost nothing useful by themselves.
Of course the oil producer shouldn't pay tax on actual "depletion", on for example the apportioned cost of its prior investment in oil-bearing land. However UIAM, the depletion allowances provided for U.S. tax purposes to petroleum producers are unrelated to their investment and may far exceed the amounts of their actual investments.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:30 PM
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How about building giant CO2 scrubbers? Or paint everything white so it reflects the sun? Giant umbrellas? Paint the moon black?
You do realize three of these are serious ideas right?
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Old 02-09-2019, 05:01 PM
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You do realize three of these are serious ideas right?
Well as long as were painting the moon black....let's set up giant solar power farms there and run a long power cable to the earth
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Old 02-09-2019, 05:14 PM
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Of course the oil producer shouldn't pay tax on actual "depletion", on for example the apportioned cost of its prior investment in oil-bearing land. However UIAM, the depletion allowances provided for U.S. tax purposes to petroleum producers are unrelated to their investment and may far exceed the amounts of their actual investments.
both of your cited examples are integrated from the production (extraction) to the processing (refining etc).

I do not have any knowledge or interest in the specific of American tax policy for extraction, but to make comment about two large integrated energy entities as if extraction is the way to understand the group level tax rate is simply non sequitor.
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:27 PM
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You do realize three of these are serious ideas right?
Also....what are you painting white? You cant paint every roof white of every roof is going to have solar panels. You can't set up a massive structure in the desert without massively impacting ecosystems.
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Old 02-09-2019, 07:03 PM
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Also....what are you painting white? You cant paint every roof white of every roof is going to have solar panels. You can't set up a massive structure in the desert without massively impacting ecosystems.
As always, we gotta look at the net, not gross, disruption.

Yes, it would fuck up a big section of the Sahara if we set up a mega-solar-farm there. Poor goddamn fennec foxes, for real.

But if it meant we could get rid of just 10% of the fossil fuel consumption, what impacts on other ecosystems would that ameliorate? How would the penguins and polar bears respond, not to mention krill and whales and seals and phytoplankton and all the myriad other species impacted by fossil fuel production and consumption?
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Old 02-09-2019, 09:18 PM
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Also....what are you painting white? You cant paint every roof white of every roof is going to have solar panels. You can't set up a massive structure in the desert without massively impacting ecosystems.
https://e360.yale.edu/features/urban...warming-cities

https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...e-overheating/

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Well as long as were painting the moon black....let's set up giant solar power farms there and run a long power cable to the earth
Technically we could use microwave power transmission instead of having giant jumper cables everywhere.

Also heres an article about the giant space umbrella

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/2016...global-warming
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:08 PM
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Thanks all for the very interesting articles.

If we're going to build a space umbrella on the moon then....seriously build the solar farms there where they don't have to worry about sandstorms and dust and I'd think the greatest threat would be micrometeors
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:26 AM
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The Green New Deal would be an American project funded by American taxpayers. Neither space umbrellas nor solar farms in the Sahara would be part of that. That’s well beyond pie in the sky, we might as well be talking about a Dyson sphere. An infrastructure plan with an emphasis on green energy would be realistic and something I could support. The U.S. accounts for 15 percent of global carbon emissions. Reducing that number by a third, or half, or to zero wouldn’t be a bad idea politically. The part about the “guaranteed” jobs sound implausible, AOC should have just left that part out.
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:17 AM
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This is the best estimate for cost that I have read. It does not add up all the costs but gives a working minimum. It says that it would cost about $6.6 trillion dollars a year. To put that in perspective the total cost to the US of WW2 has 4.1 trillion dollars. So the cost would start at 1.5 world war twos a year for the foreseeable future.
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:14 PM
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This is the best estimate for cost that I have read. It does not add up all the costs but gives a working minimum. It says that it would cost about $6.6 trillion dollars a year. To put that in perspective the total cost to the US of WW2 has 4.1 trillion dollars. So the cost would start at 1.5 world war twos a year for the foreseeable future.
6.6 trillion is what medicare for all, universal basic income & a green new deal would cost combined.

Also that 3.2 trillion for medicare for all is highly misleading. The US already spends something like 2.2 trillion on tax revenue to fund health care. That money would just be rolled into a M4A program. The remaining funds would be diverted from private funds into public funds. I have no problem in paying more in taxes if it means less private spending.

That article is very misleading because it makes M4A sound like 3.2 in new spending on top of existing spending, which was the goal (to mislead people). That makes me question the entire article.

But back to alternative energy.

Quote:
Even though the cost is coming down as technology improves, net-zero emissions retrofits of every building in the country would be expensive — optimistically, perhaps $88,000 for a townhouse, and presumably much more for free-standing homes. Assuming $100,000 per home, that comes to about $1.4 trillion a year over a decade. Factories, office buildings, stores, etc. would cost much more per building, but there are far fewer of them — about 5.6 million. If each one costs $500,000 to retrofit, that’s about $300 billion more per year.
Where did they get 100k per home? Residential solar is down to $3 per installed watt, and the average home only needs about ~8 kilowatts of solar to be energy independent. Thats $24,000, not $100,000. And that is for residential solar which is much more expensive than larger scale solar projects which are closer to $1/watt. Also as was mentioned, with economies of scale that size, prices will go down.

If you assume you need 8kwh on average per home, and there are 126 million residential homes, and it is industrial scale solar at $1/watt, that works out to $8000 per home and about $1 trillion total, not $1.4 trillion per year for a decade. Of course, who knows if its remotely realistic to install that much solar.

Is there some other aspect of being net zero I'm not seeing? Replacing all the internal combustion cars with electric cars needs to be done too.
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  #34  
Old 02-10-2019, 03:08 PM
Lantern Lantern is offline
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That Noah Smith column puts more thought into the Green New Deal than its authors have and much more than it deserves. The Green New Deal is not a plan; it's a silly wishlist which will not be passed and would cause a massive political backlash if it were. Climate change is a serious issue and deserves much better than this nonsense.
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Old 02-10-2019, 07:27 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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FWIW, California went from 0.5% of their electricity from solar up to about 10% in 2017. Probably higher now. On a sunny afternoon, solar was making up 50% of the electricity in the state. Pretty good for an industry that barely existed 10 years ago.

https://qz.com/1224296/california-is...-from-the-sun/

https://www.energy.ca.gov/almanac/el...ion/energy.gif

So massive investments in things like solar are possible and California could serve as proof that meaningful investments in renewable are feasible and affordable. However I don't know if battery tech is advanced enough yet to handle more than ~20% of electric generation by solar and wind.
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  #36  
Old 02-10-2019, 10:41 PM
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FWIW, California went from 0.5% of their electricity from solar up to about 10% in 2017. Probably higher now. On a sunny afternoon, solar was making up 50% of the electricity in the state. Pretty good for an industry that barely existed 10 years ago.

https://qz.com/1224296/california-is...-from-the-sun/

https://www.energy.ca.gov/almanac/el...ion/energy.gif

So massive investments in things like solar are possible and California could serve as proof that meaningful investments in renewable are feasible and affordable. However I don't know if battery tech is advanced enough yet to handle more than ~20% of electric generation by solar and wind.
Impressive. Only 90% to go. Seriously though, what did it cost California to go from .5% to 10%...and how does that scale up? California is ideal for solar, being semi-arid and with a large dense population, by and large, so I wonder...why only 10%? And why are they projecting 25% by the mid to late 20's. Consider then what it would take to do this across the continent...and how long it would take. 30 years? 40? Never? Of course, we are talking wind as well, which California does a lot of, but how scalable is wind at this point, even in California? Most of the good tier 1 spots are in use already...and those that aren't, aren't because they are blocked. Even if all of them were used, and all the tier 2 spots, what's that scale too? This leaves aside the issue of load scaling when there isn't wind or sunlight and storage, which is still a pretty big issue if you want to do this whole green thingy right. And leave out nuclear, which seems to be the plan.

I think before you could even start to talk costs (and I haven't read much about the green new deal except some of what I hope is hyperbole about no more cows and solar energy for everyone, plus a wind turbine in every pot) you would need to actually look at the technical, engineering realities which don't seem to pan out on any sort of reasonable time scale. I mean, if we are talking 30, 40 or 50 years (or more), well...do we have that kind of time? If they are projecting less (say 10 years or 20), well...I'd love to see the details of the logistics and deployment plan, because frankly it seems impossible to me, regardless of how much money you throw at it. If it IS feasible (), then we could talk costs...which I'd also love to see a projection. Hell, I'd love to see how you could just mine all the materials you'd need (and what the impact of THAT would be) to make that many solar panels and wind turbines, and what the projected maintenance and support would look like. This would make the new deal look like a cookie bake sale by comparison...hell, no other engineering project in history even touches something like this. We are talking colony on a planet in anther solar system levels of wow.
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  #37  
Old 02-11-2019, 01:48 AM
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... I mean, if we are talking 30, 40 or 50 years (or more), well...do we have that kind of time? ...
Too late to stop global warming anyway. So let's just keep burning coal; pass around another case of champagne, please. Say, would you ask the captain to steer closer to that iceberg? I wanna take a photo of it.

Got it.

The antipathy against AOC is truly disheartening. We know some of you are right-wingers. Can you at least pretend to be good-spirited right-wingers who care about the future? Is there only one brand of Kool-Aid for sale where you hang out?

George Orwell never studied poli sci, nor did he run for Parliament. Yet his writings inspired millions. Harry Truman was not an intellectual heavyweight; the details of the Marshall Plan were worked out by wise men.

And if American progressives pursue a green agenda they will rely on scientists for their science; the engineering and economic details will be scrutinized by the best engineering experts and economists in the land. Yet AOC's detractors pretend not to understand even this much. "That dumb 28-year old bartender forgot to dot an I again. Here's a T she didn't cross! That means we have to give up on fighting global warming. AOC! AOC! Single-payer health care is dead now because AOC mispunctuated a sentence!"

What do those on the right think? That when Trump is overthrown the first order of business will be to write a personal check to AOC for 27 trillion dollars — "Spend it as you choose"? I hope not, but it's easy to get that impression from the cavilling.
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Old 02-11-2019, 02:13 AM
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Impressive. Only 90% to go. Seriously though, what did it cost California to go from .5% to 10%...and how does that scale up?
The cost of solar and wind have been declining massively. In the past the cost of natural gas and coal was substantially cheaper than solar and wind--thus utilities only added solar and wind when they were forced to. Now solar and wind are cheaper or at least competitively priced--and the costs continue to decrease. Thus utilities are massively switching on economic grounds. Business can move very fast when there are strong economic reasons to do so.
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:34 AM
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Impressive. Only 90% to go. Seriously though, what did it cost California to go from .5% to 10%...and how does that scale up? California is ideal for solar, being semi-arid and with a large dense population, by and large, so I wonder...why only 10%? And why are they projecting 25% by the mid to late 20's. Consider then what it would take to do this across the continent...and how long it would take. 30 years? 40? Never?
Your specific American challenges in building things aside, utility scale solar is now being developed at the gigawatt scale at grid competitive prices sans subsidy and excepting your specific American issues, there is no reason it can not be built as fast as the natural gas plants.

Quote:
Of course, we are talking wind as well, which California does a lot of, but how scalable is wind at this point, even in California? Most of the good tier 1 spots are in use already...and those that aren't, aren't because they are blocked.
These are the political/social challenges and not the technical.

If you in the USA decide to self-handicap for the non technical reasons, it does not make the actual development less feasible, technically.


Quote:
Even if all of them were used, and all the tier 2 spots, what's that scale too? This leaves aside the issue of load scaling when there isn't wind or sunlight and storage, which is still a pretty big issue if you want to do this whole green thingy right. And leave out nuclear, which seems to be the plan.
the base balancing via the natural gas is a primary fast option, it is not hard except if you are self-handicapping. Of course the nuclear but it does not seem in the USA you can build these for the self-handicapping reasons.

The storage on solar via the molten salts method for example is already a technically clarified approach at okay prices - storage is not merely the battery question which remains still expensive.

The time scale for a large contribution of RE - majority - aside from the odd political hostility to it in the USA - depends on investment scale, but not 50 whatever years, it can be depending on desired replacement speed given the depreciation desired, one to two decades (abstractly depending on ages of the plants existing, etc).

It is not very helpful I think this Big Fuzzy Idea with every wish-list item of the green-Left as it lends to your (wrong) characterization of the colony on another planet which I think undermines the pragmatic and very achievable if challenging investment case for a large movement to the RE for long-term efficiency reasons - that is the economics.

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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
The antipathy against AOC is truly disheartening.
Why? She seems like a sloppy populist who has not very much care for the careful work needed in this area for the real achievements of practical infrastructure and more care for being in a limelight and showing off.
I am not a US right wing, but the stunt that is this announcement seems more likely to hurt progress than to help it.

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Originally Posted by PastTense View Post
The cost of solar and wind have been declining massively. In the past the cost of natural gas and coal was substantially cheaper than solar and wind--thus utilities only added solar and wind when they were forced to. Now solar and wind are cheaper or at least competitively priced--and the costs continue to decrease. Thus utilities are massively switching on economic grounds. Business can move very fast when there are strong economic reasons to do so.
Yes correct, the economies of scale are beginning now to be achieved and the market investment case sans subsidies is already present in many -but not all - the cases.

It is useful for that to be accelerated even as the economic utility of the Renewable Energy base for energy is quite high, it is once in place a more stable less subject to variation in pricing sourcing unlike the hydrocarbons so besides achieving the touchy feely goals, when it is done at the good economic cost, it's a general win for the market.
  #40  
Old 02-11-2019, 10:13 AM
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That Noah Smith column puts more thought into the Green New Deal than its authors have and much more than it deserves. The Green New Deal is not a plan; it's a silly wishlist which will not be passed and would cause a massive political backlash if it were. Climate change is a serious issue and deserves much better than this nonsense.
Well okay, that's great. Where's your serious proposal that actually addresses the scope of the problem in any meaningful way? Remember, the cost of unmitigated global warming is calculated in the trillions of dollars per year, and any solution involves at the very least writing off $20 Trillion in oil and gas values, as well as drasticly reshaping nearly every element of how we live our lives. So okay - what's our "realistic" solution? What's our "serious" proposal to deal with this catastrophic issue facing us? And why haven't we shown up with one until now?

Say what you will about the Green New Deal, it is the first proposal to actually look at the scope of the problem and propose a solution which even comes close. Nobody else has even scratched the surface. Everyone else seems to be working with their blinders on. Even democrats! To quote Nathan J. Robinson:
There are perfectly fine critiques of the Green New Deal in its existing embryonic form. Any serious plan to address climate change has to have an international dimension, because while the U.S. is the 2nd-largest carbon polluter it is not responsible for the majority of emissions. The GND needs to be part of an effort to get other countries to bind themselves to climate commitments by showing that we take our own seriously. And it’s certainly true that there are going to need to be greater specifics and that the “paying for it” question can’t be dismissed by pointing out that we never ask the military how it’s going to pay for its latest piece of colossally expensive gadgetry. But a resolution is exactly that, a statement of resolve, and critics who are asking for a full policy apparatus are misunderstanding what this part of the process is intended to do, namely state the list of goals as we work on the arduous process of fleshing out workable solutions.

I don’t think anyone should be particularly interested in hearing criticisms of the Green New Deal proposal unless they are constructive criticisms. There’s going to be a lot of crying “That will never pass” and picking out the most wildly transformative thing a GND proponent has suggested, then declaring it proves leftists have their heads in the clouds. As for “it will never pass,” that’s quite obviously silly. Things pass when you build political movements to make them pass, and they don’t when you don’t. I do not want to hear from those who have failed to predict previous drastic shifts in American politics about what “can” and “can’t” happen politically. These are often self-fulfilling prophecies: The boundaries of the politically possible are defined in part by beliefs (“if you will it, it is no dream”!) As for criticisms of the substance of environmentalist plans: We need to demand that those who have objections offer alternatives. The New Yorker‘s Osita Nwanevu said that “no one criticizing the Green New Deal—not a single person—has an alternative plan for transitioning the American energy economy in the timeframe climatologists say we must.” I certainly think he’s right that you hear very few substantive proposals. What’s Nancy Pelosi’s plan? Forming a committee to dither on the problem for a few years before proposing some package of pitiful half-measures? Every politician needs to be faced with those crucial questions: Do you accept the scientific consensus on climate change? If you do, what plan do you endorse? And if they don’t have an answer to #2, they need to be fought. For far too long, Democrats like Pelosi have talked as if they care about climate change, without actually demonstrating that they do. That needs to end, and it needs to be made clear to them that unless they sign on to a comprehensive plan immediately, every effort will be made to oust them from office and replace them. There is a “climate litmus test” in operation, and there are no exceptions to it.

Bolding mine.
  #41  
Old 02-11-2019, 11:32 AM
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But a resolution is exactly that, a statement of resolve, and critics who are asking for a full policy apparatus are misunderstanding what this part of the process is intended to do, namely state the list of goals as we work on the arduous process of fleshing out workable solutions.
If the goal is impossible, there are no workable solutions.
Quote:
I don’t think anyone should be particularly interested in hearing criticisms of the Green New Deal proposal unless they are constructive criticisms.
OK, here are some constructive criticisms.
  • Solar and wind cannot possibly be scaled up in ten years to meet 100% of our energy needs.
  • No plan that excludes nuclear energy can possibly succeed.
So, just adjust the plan to replace all references to "alternative energy" with "nuclear energy".

Oh, and by the way, any arguments based on how much nuclear energy will cost, or how difficult it will be to implement - we don't need to deal with those. Just make the resolution, and we will worry about the details later.

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  #42  
Old 02-11-2019, 11:58 AM
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Too late to stop global warming anyway. So let's just keep burning coal; pass around another case of champagne, please. Say, would you ask the captain to steer closer to that iceberg? I wanna take a photo of it.

Got it.

The antipathy against AOC is truly disheartening. We know some of you are right-wingers. Can you at least pretend to be good-spirited right-wingers who care about the future? Is there only one brand of Kool-Aid for sale where you hang out?

George Orwell never studied poli sci, nor did he run for Parliament. Yet his writings inspired millions. Harry Truman was not an intellectual heavyweight; the details of the Marshall Plan were worked out by wise men.

And if American progressives pursue a green agenda they will rely on scientists for their science; the engineering and economic details will be scrutinized by the best engineering experts and economists in the land. Yet AOC's detractors pretend not to understand even this much. "That dumb 28-year old bartender forgot to dot an I again. Here's a T she didn't cross! That means we have to give up on fighting global warming. AOC! AOC! Single-payer health care is dead now because AOC mispunctuated a sentence!"

What do those on the right think? That when Trump is overthrown the first order of business will be to write a personal check to AOC for 27 trillion dollars — "Spend it as you choose"? I hope not, but it's easy to get that impression from the cavilling.
Naw, you don't got it. As usual. Your metric butt load of straw doesn't get my post in the least. Which seems to be par for the course with you, especially lately. You bring so much straw and horseshit into this post it's hard to know where to start. Let's start at the top. I never said it's too late to stop global warming, nor that we should just keep burning coal or drink Champaign, which I find vile. Those are all out of your own ass or the fantasy conversation in your head.

Since you seem to have trouble understanding, I'll spell out my own thoughts on this. You can't have a green energy plan that is realistic without nuclear. If you are going to try and say we can do it all with wind and solar, well, you are wrong. At least on any sort of realistic timescale that would make a real impact on global climate change. It's disappointing that so many of you seem to be in the unicorn wishes and dragon dreams category on this stuff. And it's mainly due to you and your side (fantasizing that it's engineers and scientists on your side) that is kicking the can further down the road by making this all about wind and solar, instead of a more realistic and real world assessment of what we COULD actually do to lower CO2 (and other GhG) emissions. Personally, I think we could do a lot...unlike your strawman...if we could only get the green idiots on your side to consider nuclear, and get the coal idiots on the other side to give that shit up. We COULD replace a large number of coal plants in the US...hell, most if not all...with either cleaner burning natural gas as an interim step or with nuclear, or a combination of those with wind and solar doing what it does best, acting as a niche energy source. Maybe in 10 or 20 years there will be breakthroughs in battery technology, allowing us to install large metropolis scale batteries on a smart grid where we COULD scale that up to use solar and wind to become more than just niche sources...but that isn't happening today, nor is it a given that it will. It MIGHT. In the mean time, we have a green energy solution that WILL scale up...especially if we are talking about spending trillions anyway. Nuclear will do the job. But your side (the progressive types who come up with these loopy plans) won't and don't even consider it. Or did I miss where they are going to propose building, say, 200 new model nuclear power plants in the US to augment and normalize the energy usage an load as part of the green new deal? No? Feel free to cite it.


Finally, just on a personal note...why the fuck do you think and keep posting that I'm a Trump fan, or even aligned with that idiot at all? This is like the 3rd post you've made alluding to this and seriously...WTF? I'm sure you think I'm some sort of 'right winger' (which is hilarious in itself), since, again, you keep bringing that up and you base that on your completely inability to actually know what my point is in any of this (and a political position so skewed that you'd even see me as a right winger), but please stop with the MAGA and Trump horseshit in reference to me. If you want to still believe in your fantasies about this, I ask you keep them to yourself and safely locked away inside. Please.
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  #43  
Old 02-11-2019, 11:58 AM
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If the goal is impossible, there are no workable solutions.
If this goal actually is impossible, then we will need to break ourselves upon it trying, because we have no choice. This needs to be solved, and failing to do so will cost us far, far more than any of the proposals in the green new deal.

Quote:
OK, here are some constructive criticisms.
  • Solar and wind cannot possibly be scaled up in ten years to meet 100% of our energy needs.
Well, it's a good thing "renewable" means more than just that, and it's also good news that we're already at a point where it's feasible. Seriously, this stuff isn't pie-in-the-sky material - it's probably going to be hard, but it's absolutely necessary and we can, in fact, do it.

Quote:
  • No plan that excludes nuclear energy can possibly succeed.
So, just adjust the plan to replace all references to "alternative energy" with "nuclear energy".
Have you ever mentioned nuclear energy on this forum when it wasn't in the context of slagging off renewables? In discussions of climate change you're this huge evangelist for nuclear power (whenever it's convenient to slag off renewables), but I rarely see you advocating for it elsewhere. Like, for example, I guess you missed this thread - seems like it might be right up your alley.

FWIW, the GND doesn't actually mention nuclear at all, so it's hardly excluded as a possibility, and I imagine it will be part of how we move away from fossil fuels. But it is a bit odd that you always bring it up whenever the subject comes up, but not particularly often in other cases.
  #44  
Old 02-11-2019, 12:00 PM
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If the goal is impossible, there are no workable solutions.
Yes.

Quote:
  • Solar and wind cannot possibly be scaled up in ten years to meet 100% of our energy needs.
Yes. It is plausible to very significantly increase the percentage of elecriticty generation to perhaps equal and replacing essentially the coal. But in ten years, 100 percent is not realistic, even as the stretch goal. b

Quote:
  • No plan that excludes nuclear energy can possibly succeed.
So, just adjust the plan to replace all references to "alternative energy" with "nuclear energy".
You mean from the carbon emissions objective so excluding natural gas? If yes, it is agreed.
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:10 PM
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Well okay, that's great. Where's your serious proposal that actually addresses the scope of the problem in any meaningful way? Remember, the cost of unmitigated global warming is calculated in the trillions of dollars per year, and any solution involves at the very least writing off $20 Trillion in oil and gas values, as well as drasticly reshaping nearly every element of how we live our lives. So okay - what's our "realistic" solution? What's our "serious" proposal to deal with this catastrophic issue facing us? And why haven't we shown up with one until now?

Say what you will about the Green New Deal, it is the first proposal to actually look at the scope of the problem and propose a solution which even comes close. Nobody else has even scratched the surface. Everyone else seems to be working with their blinders on. Even democrats!
Once again the Green New Deal is not a plan or a solution. It's a silly wishlist which has no relationship with reality. It lacks pretty much every element of a plan: a realistic timeline, plausible mechanisms to achieve the goals, cost estimates etc. And it wouldn't even achieve the goal of significantly reducing climate change. The US produces 15% of carbon emissions and the GND doesn't say much about major sources of emissions like agriculture and manufacturing let alone how to reduce emissions in the developing world.

As for real solutions, a carbon tax, much more R&D funding for new emissions-reducing technologies particularly in agriculture and manufacturing, and more nuclear energy are probably going to be key.
  #46  
Old 02-11-2019, 12:10 PM
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If this goal actually is impossible, then we will need to break ourselves upon it trying, because [I]we have no choice
there is a choice.
the choice is the change adaptation.
While it is a painful one it could be less painful than an economy ruining 'break ourselves" which is not a rational objective but any way as the French case has seen, is one that will never win the real pubic support.
Quote:
Well, it's a good thing "renewable" means more than just that, and it's also good news that we're already at a point where it's feasible. Seriously, this stuff isn't pie-in-the-sky material
That is for the electric power generation and not total energy, a very different topic.

Merely making the declarations of necessity is not making a plan economically feasible.
  #47  
Old 02-11-2019, 12:33 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Is anyone here old enough to remember when the American Medical Association fought a bitter war against Medicare, warning that adopting it would destroy the medical system? Or when people said that putting a man on the moon was utterly impossible? It was, until we made the political decision to throw money at it.

Or, closer to this discussion, the Progressive Party Platform of 1912?

Read that page closely. In 1912, it was a pie-in-the-sky, utopian set of dream policies. Most were anathema to certain classes, especially the powerful and wealthy. Not all of them were achieved, or could realistically be, but for the most part the clauses read like a list of trite, old-fashioned platitudes too obvious to be controversial.

Transformation policies work only when there is a political will. The Progressives lost the election, even with Theodore Roosevelt as a candidate, but but Wilson saw that the public was ready to accept a few of the planks. Many more came to being under Franklin Roosevelt. Today social Security is untouchable; child labor unthinkable; women's suffrage a basic right.

Concentrating on the vague utopian dreams of the Green New Deal is a losing proposition. That will just allow the more practical and achievable goals to slip in as moderate solutions. If the political will is there - and I think it is - the conversation will shift from "these are impossible" to "which of these can we enact first?"

As a connoisseur of irony, I offer these glowing lines as proof that Americans, especially younger ones, will go for the Green New Deal in a huge way.
Quote:
Look at the opportunities before us! Our most thrilling achievements are still ahead. Our most exciting journeys still await. Our biggest victories are still to come. We have not yet begun to dream.

We must choose whether we are defined by our differences -- or whether we dare to transcend them.

We must choose whether we will squander our inheritance -- or whether we will proudly declare that we are Americans. We do the incredible. We defy the impossible. We conquer the unknown.

This is the time to re-ignite the American imagination. This is the time to search for the tallest summit, and set our sights on the brightest star. This is the time to rekindle the bonds of love and loyalty and memory that link us together as citizens, as neighbors, as patriots.

This is our future -- our fate -- and our choice to make. I am asking you to choose greatness.
SPOILER:
They're the closing lines of Trump's 2019 SOTA. He hasn't offered a single dream. But those who have can quote these forever.
  #48  
Old 02-11-2019, 12:40 PM
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Is anyone here old enough to remember when the American Medical Association fought a bitter war against Medicare, warning that adopting it would destroy the medical system? Or when people said that putting a man on the moon was utterly impossible? It was, until we made the political decision to throw money at it.

Or, closer to this discussion, the Progressive Party Platform of 1912?

Read that page closely. In 1912, it was a pie-in-the-sky, utopian set of dream policies. Most were anathema to certain classes, especially the powerful and wealthy. Not all of them were achieved, or could realistically be, but for the most part the clauses read like a list of trite, old-fashioned platitudes too obvious to be controversial.

Transformation policies work only when there is a political will. The Progressives lost the election, even with Theodore Roosevelt as a candidate, but but Wilson saw that the public was ready to accept a few of the planks. Many more came to being under Franklin Roosevelt. Today social Security is untouchable; child labor unthinkable; women's suffrage a basic right.

Concentrating on the vague utopian dreams of the Green New Deal is a losing proposition. That will just allow the more practical and achievable goals to slip in as moderate solutions. If the political will is there - and I think it is - the conversation will shift from "these are impossible" to "which of these can we enact first?"

As a connoisseur of irony, I offer these glowing lines as proof that Americans, especially younger ones, will go for the Green New Deal in a huge way.

SPOILER:
They're the closing lines of Trump's 2019 SOTA. He hasn't offered a single dream. But those who have can quote these forever.
So...we should see this green new deal as something to spark imagination and get folks thinking, not as anything realistic in an of itself? I'm fine with that...I do think there is a place for dreaming big and proposing big, impossible things to see what that sparks wrt what folks come up with. And what is 'impossible' today could be very possible (albeit in different ways than originally envisioned) 50 or 100 years down the pike. But if that's the case, then the answer to the OP should follow along those lines...there aren't realistic numbers because it's not a realistic or even possible plan, and it's not meant to be one.
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  #49  
Old 02-11-2019, 12:59 PM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Budget Player Cadet View Post
If this goal actually is impossible, then we will need to break ourselves upon it trying, because we have no choice.
No, that's silly. If the goal is impossible, then we need not waste our time - we should pursue mitigation strategies, or something that is less but has a reasonable chance of success.
Quote:
This needs to be solved, and failing to do so will cost us far, far more than any of the proposals in the green new deal.
We haven't gotten far enough to say how much the GND will cost, so we can't compare the cost to the cost of doing nothing, or pursuing mitigation.
Quote:
Well, it's a good thing "renewable" means more than just that, and it's also good news that we're already at a point where it's feasible. Seriously, this stuff isn't pie-in-the-sky material - it's probably going to be hard, but it's absolutely necessary and we can, in fact, do it.
AFAICT you are making the same mistake as the authors of your cite complain about - confusing feasible with possible. I could only read the abstract - if you could cut and paste the parts where they show that we could replace everything with solar panels, that would help the discussion.
Quote:
Have you ever mentioned nuclear energy on this forum when it wasn't in the context of slagging off renewables? In discussions of climate change you're this huge evangelist for nuclear power (whenever it's convenient to slag off renewables), but I rarely see you advocating for it elsewhere.
Quit trying to change the subject. If nuclear power is relevant to the discussion of climate change, and it is, and if it has some chance of working better than alternatives, and it does, then address it. "How come you don't bring it up when it isn't relevant" is not a counter-argument.
Quote:
FWIW, the GND doesn't actually mention nuclear at all, so it's hardly excluded as a possibility, and I imagine it will be part of how we move away from fossil fuels.
Your imagination isn't relevant. Ms. AOC is on record that she wants the US to eliminate nuclear energy, and this GND is mostly her idea. Now, maybe this is another thing AOC is lying about, or intending to mislead about, or she doesn't know what her bill is supposed to do, but that hardly matters.

If the GND doesn't explicitly say that nuclear power should be our main focus, and that alternative energy is the way to go, then the GND is not worthwhile even as a statement of principle. Maybe AOC thinks we can run the world economy on moonbeams and pixie dust, but we can't. But "the world is coming to an end in twelve years unless we do something, and never mind if it will work or not" is not how to approach a serious problem.

YMMV, but unless you drive an electric car or don't mind walking to work in the dark while the Chinese make things worse anyway, it shouldn't.

Regards,
Shodan
  #50  
Old 02-11-2019, 01:18 PM
Lantern Lantern is offline
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The GND fails even as a utopian wishlist because it doesn't meaningfully solve the problem of climate change. It is deeply confused about what climate change is and how it will be solved. Ramez Naam had a nice series of tweets about this
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