Tag Archive | CO2 Emissions

Can We Rely on Wind and Solar Energy?



Views:1263165|Rating:3.51|View Time:4:24Minutes|Likes:11428|Dislikes:4865
Is green energy, particularly wind and solar energy, the solution to our climate and energy problems? Or should we be relying on things like natural gas, nuclear energy, and even coal for our energy needs and environmental obligations? Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress explains.
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Script:

Are wind and solar power the answer to our energy needs? There’s a lot of sun and a lot of wind. They’re free. They’re clean. No CO2 emissions. So, what’s the problem?

Why do solar and wind combined provide less than 2% of the world’s energy?

To answer these questions, we need to understand what makes energy, or anything else for that matter, cheap and plentiful.

For something to be cheap and plentiful, every part of the process to produce it, including every input that goes into it, must be cheap and plentiful.

Yes, the sun is free. Yes, wind is free. But the process of turning sunlight and wind into useable energy on a mass scale is far from free. In fact, compared to the other sources of energy — fossil fuels, nuclear power, and hydroelectric power, solar and wind power are very expensive.

The basic problem is that sunlight and wind as energy sources are both weak (the more technical term is dilute) and unreliable (the more technical term is intermittent). It takes a lot of resources to collect and concentrate them, and even more resources to make them available on-demand. These are called the diluteness problem and the intermittency problem.

The diluteness problem is that, unlike coal or oil, the sun and the wind don’t deliver concentrated energy — which means you need a lot of additional materials to produce a unit of energy.

For solar power, such materials can include highly purified silicon, phosphorus, boron, and a dozen other complex compounds like titanium dioxide. All these materials have to be mined, refined and/or manufactured in order to make solar panels. Those industrial processes take a lot of energy.

For wind, needed materials include high-performance compounds for turbine blades and the rare-earth metal neodymium for lightweight, specialty magnets, as well as the steel and concrete necessary to build structures — thousands of them — as tall as skyscrapers.

And as big a problem as diluteness is, it’s nothing compared to the intermittency problem. This isn’t exactly a news flash, but the sun doesn’t shine all the time. And the wind doesn’t blow all the time. The only way for solar and wind to be truly useful would be if we could store them so that they would be available when we needed them. You can store oil in a tank. Where do you store solar or wind energy? No such mass-storage system exists. Which is why, in the entire world, there is not one real or proposed independent, freestanding solar or wind power plant. All of them require backup. And guess what the go-to back-up is: fossil fuel.

Here’s what solar and wind electricity look like in Germany, which is the world’s leader in “renewables”. The word erratic leaps to mind. Wind is constantly varying, sometimes disappearing completely. And solar produces little in the winter months when Germany most needs energy.

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What is a Carbon Footprint



Views:41083|Rating:4.23|View Time:2:48Minutes|Likes:93|Dislikes:17
Learn what a carbon footprint is and how that relates to climate change. Be Conscious. Make an Impact. Be Rewarded.

Greenhouse gases absorb heat when they interact with sunlight, they are the reason earth has a climate.

Your carbon footprint is the total of all of the greenhouse gas produced by what you do and by the energy spent making the things you buy.

The place you live…
The car you drive…
the clothes you wear…
the food you eat…
even that cup of morning coffee…
all consume energy…

And they all add to your carbon footprint

Just like the water cycle…
there is a natural carbon cycle present in our atmosphere.
Carbon is the building block of life on earth…
and there is a natural carbon cycle between animal life,
forests,
and oceans
which is known to have kept carbon in balance for hundreds of thousands of years.

This cycle has been known to be in balance for over 800,000 years
With natural atmospheric carbon ranging between 180 and 280 ppm

Carbon levels relate very closely to global temperatures as you can see from the data over the same time period.

However, since the Industrial Revolution,
human activity has dramatically increased the amount of carbon being released…
and it is more than the natural cycle can handle…
meaning the carbon cycle is becoming increasingly out of balance.

If our emissions continue to climb, our temperatures are sure to follow. The good news is we can take action to make changes because we know why this is happening.

This is happening because of our use of fossil fuels
Fossil fuels contain carbon that has been outside of the carbon cycle for millions of years.
So every time we use fossil fuels, we are increasing the amount of carbon that is in the active carbon cycle.

The impact: a buildup of Greenhouse Gas leading to climate change

There’s good news!
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For you to reduce and offset your impact!

Every day our paleBLUEdot gives us so much.
Maybe it’s time we start paying her back.

We publish videos with the intention of developing greater awareness, encouraging action to reduce our negative impacts on each other and our planet. Visit our website to learn more about how you can reduce your impact!

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Primary video filmed by Ted Redmond. Video includes use of public domain clips from “In the Suburbs” a 1957 promotional film by Redbook, “This Nation’s Power” a 1930’s promotional film by Jam Handy Productions, as well as global temperature data imagery provided by NASA. CO2 and Temperature data based on information provided by NASA Earth Observatory. Stock image by Beachfrontbroll.com with permission.