Comments

1

Obviously natural gas is far from perfect, but the emissions are at least 60% lower per MWH compared to coal (new plant vs new plant) and likely much more than that, as most coal plants are older and less efficient. One of the biggest advantages and biggest challenges with alternative/renewables is their decentralized nature. This is great because local impacts are less likely to affect large portions of the grid. This is bad because you can't just install one big turbine and call it good- it takes time to build and install the tens of thousands of solar panels, turbines, digesters, etc. Take the win. Even a decade ago this would have been unthinkable in the UK.

2

wow
thats some filthy smoke coming out of those huge stacks.
you have convinced us, Slog, the planet really is dying.....

3

@1 It is highly probable that fugitive methane emissions make natural gas worse than coal for climate. Ignoring it isn't going to do any good. Furthermore, without subsidies, solar PV and wind are already cheaper than natural gas.
https://cleantechnica.com/2016/12/25/cost-of-solar-power-vs-cost-of-wind-power-coal-nuclear-natural-gas/

Advocating for natural gas isn't helping to address climate change.

4

Dear Omri,
You've been watching too much Fox news.
You've aged terribly!

5

@2 hey, Einstein. It’s a photo of a coal fired power station in Pocerady, Czech Republic illustrating a news item about... coal fired power plants. I guess they could’ve linked to a carefully referenced and cited bar chart showing the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, but, you know, dumbfucks like you can hardly read as it is.

6

@1 The Role of Shale Gas Development In the Global Methane Cycle

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NPuYr1LGMI

7

Why not have a pic of Washington state's remaining coal plant(s)? Why is it all Getty, all the time?

8

Yes, let's not get too smug about mandating 100% renewables.
We can only do that by heavy reliance on hydropower and those dams have exacted a terrible toll on the natural world and indigenous cultures.

9

@8 Excellent point. Dams have a heavy toll on river ecosystems and it is unclear how sustainable they are without extensive dredging due to sedimentation. Fortunately Washington has great wind and solar energy potential (and geothermal?).

10

The war on coal is over. Gas won.

11

Let's increase the cost of heating oil for poor people in the winter and grandma and grandpa living on a fixed income's energy bill and pat ourselves on the back for taking the moral high ground to reduce emissions less than 2% with no existing alternative clean energy source...
There is a reason solar and wind can't meet all our energy needs.

12

Once again that Getty image is being used to represent smoke from chimneys. It is a back lit sun set image of steam from cooling towers, not coal smoke.
It is still not a great it happens but it is not smoke. Just a sunset shining through steam giving a dramatic effect.
But the Stranger still likes over using this stock photo over and over.

13

@11:

Okay, Einstein, I'll bite: tell us what this "reason" is, and maybe cite some sources while you're at it, unless of course this is just your usual pulling stupid statements out of your arse that you can't back up with anything even remotely approaching empirical data. But, just to get things started for you, maybe take a gander at this:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032118303307

Oh, wait - this article actually completely refutes your spurious, typically uninformed opinion - so sorry (not)!

14

@7
No more generic Getty stock photos.

15

Nuclear is the solution

17

Of course, corporate "welfare queens" think nuclear is the solution

18

@10 "Gas won".

"Since 2007, the oil and gas industry has lost $280 billion betting on the shale boom"

https://www.desmogblog.com/finances-fracking-shale-industry-drills-more-debt-profit

19

The obvious answer is using nuclear to wean us off fossil fuels and act as a bridge to renewable sources of energy while we get the solar/wind infrastructure to the point where it can support our energy needs. But this makes too much sense, and people are way too stupid to go with this.

@17: Are you of the thinking that anyone but corporations will be running the renewable energy business and manufacturing?

Those wind turbines are not installed and run by community co-ops, you know. Exxon and BP is not going to just throw their hands up and stop existing once the power grid shifts. They are just going to pivot to that.

20

@1 and all climate deniers arguing for fossil fuel alternatives (natural gas, LNG, using natural gas to remove emissions (2 in for 1 out) are wrong.

Dead wrong.

You have 11 years left. Get real.

22

@19 where should I start?

Nuclear is in decline worldwide because it is too expensive and unsafe. Even China stopped completing nuclear projects because they aren't competitive with solar and wind energy costs.

Nuclear is probably the most state subsidized energy industry in the history of the world. It is still entirely dependent on government subsidies.

We have 11 years left to reduce fossil fuel by 50% and it takes over a decade to put a nuclear plant online. Hardly a bridge to anything.

Nuclear fuel is finite. The technology to reuse spent/other fuel isn't ready.

The advent of big bad nuclear everywhere will demand a security apparatus that would make a small government type proud

23

@21: Can't argue with that, but then again, I never really attempted to.

24

@22 "reduce fossil fuel emissions by 50%"

25

@19 I should add that am not against subsidies to corporations when it suits society's needs but those who spend so much time bashing the poor for needing welfare could be a little consistent.

26

Capitalism led to overpopulation. Prior to the use of fossil fuels to operate agricultural equipment, population levels such as we have now would have been impossible. We simply didn’t have the ability to generate enough food for this many people. That forces us to engage in energy wars such as Iraq. Regardless of the pretext for war, the real effort was to gain control of those oil fields. That’s also why we are allies with Saudi Arabia, even though that regime is antithetical to all our moral values. After the 1970’s OPEC induces oil shocks, we realized we need them far more than they need us.

As for coal and natural gas, those are cooking us all to death. However, that is a slow death, one no politician has to worry about during their term of office.

So, we have a problem. Sustaining this many people requires either a technological revolution capable of sustaining food supplies at the current level, or we must depopulate to a level the Earth can sustain in the absence of fossil fuels. The former is a pipe dream, and the latter has to happen by one of two ways: decrease the number of new humans added to the population, or r of move a number of existing humans from the population. The former runs counter to the ideology of many religions and the political Right. The latter is ethically horrible.

Here’s a Green New Deal: stop having babies. Adopt the existing kids who have no parents instead. You don't need to be the Octomom. In fact, you don’t need to give birth at all.

27

@22: I never said it was infinite, free, and without waste. Of course it is in decline. Renewable sources are making up higher percentages and developing countries are burning more and more coal as they develop, as they can not afford to invest in nuclear.

Now, you are simply wrong about it taking 10 years to get a nuclear plant online. It is more like 5 years, if that. Read up on the topic and you won't be wrong/have to lie:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics_of_nuclear_power_plants

But let's pretend you are accurate: in regards to time, you can't just take that as a factor in nuclear power, but not renewables. Cities that are attempting to move to 100% renewable energy tend to believe it will take 15-20 years, and that is just one city. You are occupying an extremist position where we can only consider one source of energy in this time period, when that is not realistic. There is not a "100% renewables" switch that just needs to be flipped. It is going to be a decades long shift.

I have no idea why you are bringing up government investment. Do you think that locals are going to be paying the millions it takes to upgrade all the energy infrastructure in BumFuck, Arkansas? All of this is going to take massive government expenditures and subsidies. It always has, really.

No one is claiming that we need nuclear plants in every city. it is about lowering fossil fuel use in the meantime so that some of the damage can be mitigated before we can go mostly or fully renewable.

If you have to misrepresent an argument this much to refute it, you likely don't have many good points.

28

@2, et al- Agreed on your bigger point. However most of the infrastructure for centralized energy production is already in place, so making a swap from a (likely) planned coal plant to a gas plant is something.

Nuclear is a non-starter- the economics simply don't work in the long run (or are you forgetting the $84 Billion cost to clean up just Hanford- all of which is shouldered by taxpayers through the DOE rather than by the builders or ratepayers). Those costs are so outlandish that taxpayers could just be given fairly substantial home solar setups instead.

29

@28 Hanford produced plutonium for nuclear weapons. Typical nuclear power plants do not use plutonium, which is why Hanford is a mess.

@27 To add on to the construction time for a nuclear power plant, Mike Shellenberger has a great article on South Korean power plants. They build power plants in 4.5-5 years. https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/06/21/if-innovation-makes-everything-cheaper-why-does-it-make-nuclear-power-more-expensive/#5efc64812d7d

30

@27- that is a lie- and you full well know it.
https://reneweconomy.com.au/another-coal-myth-busted-as-developing-nations-turn-to-renewables-80661/

33

@29- sure, that one facility produced plutonium, along w/ fuel. But don't forget that all fuel for all plants, as well as all processing and long term storage of waste is a DOE cost, from now until forever- typically not included in the advertized coast per kwh. And since we've been kicking the long-term-storage-solution can down the road for 50 years, those costs have exploded. And given the 5 year timeline for a plant build, and probably a decade in planning/permissions... in 15 years we can get a lot of solar and wind installed.

34

We live in the US, and here the permit and construction time, and literal GHG emiiting concrete required to make a nuclear fission plant puts their construction beyond the 11 year time range for any real positive impact. And we know that.

It is true that we do have nuclear fusion power that could replace that, but it can't be rolled out that fast, is still in the design stage for all but military use, and again, won't have any real positive impact in the time period we do have.

We can build the following and we do have both the resources and the knowledge: solar, wind, geothermal, mini-hydro (think small boxes like tractor trailers next to small lakes or ponds) and micro-hydro (this tends to be variable with the seasons or small creeks and ponds). We can also do things like expanding use of shellfish (clams, mussels, oysters, other filter feeders but NOT shrimp) combined with seaweed and seagrass, and replacing some of our beef and pork consumption with that, and using some of the shells to replace the concrete composites for things like decks and planters and surface concretes. We can even use low emission low carbon CLT buildings where it makes sense.

Those work.

They're cheaper.

We know they work - most have been used in some way shape or form for thousands of years, we just made them better.

37

@30: I did not say that the developing world can not invest in renewables, I said they could not realistically invest in nuclear, based on the cost of fossil fuels, renewables, and nuclear. So like you note, they are running a mixture of fossil fuels and renewables, but are still largely burning carbon. It really is not relevant though, to be honest.

@32: I agree with you. In a perfect world, we would start investing more in renewables and all lobbyists would be catapulted into the ocean.

But since we live in the real world, those are not terribly realistic options in the time frame we are talking about. It is going to be a process, not an immediate shift.


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