Energy, Pollution & Global Warming
A friend wrote from Australia in March 2014:
"The highest at my place was 52 deg C" (125.6 F.)
"My electricity bill doubled due to my air con being on non
Prompting thoughts on the ozone hole etc:
Lucky the electricity generation grid didn't collapse under
excess load like USA city brown outs from excess air con usage.
Germany has recently headed toward brown out risk, we now only have
a few percent spare electrical capacity. Ever since the tidal wave
in Japan took out their nuclear, it scared the greens & non
thinkers here to knee jerk shut down nuclear ahead of schedule.
I presume Germany is now burning even more lignite (brown coal)
than ever from their vast open cast mines. Apparently it's really
polluting, much more so than black coal. The Germans are oblivious
to it, 'cos they're used to it, so they ignore that pollution health
risk & worry about nuclear risk.
German spare capacity fallback used to be largely it's own power
stations, but is now increased arrangements with:
France, inc. French nuclear plants also on the river dividing
France & Germany, & the Germans still think they've done
their bit to set a good example of non nuclear ;-).
East Europeans with nuclear generators ... just how safe
are Those considering ex communist safety levels aka Chernobyl.
USA wastes energy above all, but Europe & the West too, Oz too I
recall has a dodgy back yard, massive trains taking excavated iron
ore & coal to ship to Asia for smelting.
Some hopes for reprieve:
Projects like the North Africa solar cell array, edge of
the Sahara, that will feed electricity to Europe undersea,
near Straits of Gibraltar. There's a lot of Sahara left
they could cover ;-), maybe in a few centuries most of it
to power a chunk of the world ? It'd also create jobs,
building, repairing erosion, & save some poor devils
risking their lives in small boats smuggling to Europe for
Oz could do solar too ? Enough space in the Nullarbor ?. If
Oz generated enough solar they could do iron smelting in
Oz, bill the Asians for finished steel at a more profitable
dollar & environmental price for both Australia & Asians,
(except coal industry), & leave the coal in the ground till
oil runs out, the price jumps, & then make oil from coal
like Germany did in 2nd world war.
A lot of windmills in North Sea & Germany now generating electricity.
Better insulation on houses needed (whether hot or cold out)
Insulation on this 1985 rental flat in Munich is
poor I suspect. New double glazing in some windows
is thicker than the old, but still thin wood in
parts between radiators & outside world !.
There's new laws now in UK & Germany (maybe whole EU ?),
that before you can sell property you have to provide an
environmental performance analysis. Not on rental yet, far
as I know.
LED lamps, solar recharged, replacing African Kerosene
cookers for lighting & cooking. Good for pollution & health.
I just put a power meter on our old freezer to calculate
if replacing with a new might be cost effective.
Putting real switches on power cables of transistor radios,
or switched wall sockets, would save each similar device
owner equivalent of 3 or 4 beers at bar prices per year :-)
(Switches inside are always on secondary of transformer,
'cos lower voltage = cheaper switch, so primary coil of
transformer is permanently on, wasting power, even when
switch says Off, solution: legislate to only allow sale of
devices with switches on primary not secondary coil of
transformers (one off cost: 1 beer or less at bar prices,
against 3 beers per year forever :-)
If the catholic church stopped its opposition to contraception
it'd help. Excess Babies = Excess Adult Polluters.
Enumerating Risks & Costs:
Pollution & all risks are very complex, & usually skewed
by emotions, non informed & non logical public, local myopic
views, NIMBIs (Not In My Backyard), tax breaks, politicians
reacting to events, not planning, business lobbying, &
Any scientists, engineers, & above all politicians, who try
to enumerate all aspects, don't have time, skill, manpower
& above all, have to worry about further career/ salary
One could wish the UN had a fully pre-funded team of
international scientist, engineers, environmentalists, & a
few insurance numerate people, to look at all consequential
costs & risks of all forms of energy creation, pollution,
With enough funding to last them a full career, so they
could safely tell the world real full truths.
Every big project has hidden costs people try to ignore:
Big buildings & bridges cost lives.
Mining coal & storing slag carries risk of eg Aberfan disaster.
Global warming will risk African mosquitoes etc getting
north of the Alps.
Britain's atomic legacy includes an accumulating stock of
European etc atomic rubbish, that Europeans are in no rush to
collect. Storing it for ever will cost a lot.