Everything you always wanted to know about global warming. But were afraid to ask.
Most carbon emissions are absorbed by the ocean, but it’s running out of capacity, which could make global temperatures rise even faster.
The bottom line is that there is no alternative non-anthropogenic theory to explain rising temperatures, melting glaciers, sea level rise and ocean acidification. If we don’t act, the existing mechanisms of the climate will only reinforce the damage already done.
In my last article on this topic, I pointed out how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is improving its methods and research, and getting closer to proving the effects of man’s current lifestyle on the climate of our planet. Climate deniers, however, remain steadfast in their convictions that the IPCC’s science is wrong or that it’s all just a scam to increase government power. The fact that they have no proprietary research to substantiate their claims that rising CO2 levels are harmless or that human beings have nothing to do with it, doesn’t seem to stop them picking holes in the science.
Scientists are closer than ever to definitively proving that climate change exists and putting the deniers to rest. Despite the recent climate agreement in Paris (COP21), where 195 countries adopted the first legally binding treaty to curb climate change, the debate about whether climate change exists or whether it’s the fault of human beings still rages on.
The first article in a three-part series, originally based on an interview, followed by a publication in “INSEAD Knowledge”. I undertook it, at first, to compensate for the influence of certain climate deniers on the faculty and among the readers.
Happy to see a website devoted to the (mostly) good ideas of Robert Ayres. As the originator of the term if not the concept of EROI I would like to clarify a few things from my own perspective. The energy invested is usually and appropriately considered the energy diverted from society to get energy to society. Thus natural gas used to pressurize an oil/gas field or energy used in society to make a drill bit or oil rig or fertilizer for corn-based ethanol would be considered part of the investment. Geological energy to make radioactive uranium or oil would not.
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This paper makes several points about the use of EROI as an indicator of future potential.
First, for comparability it is important to limit comparisons to specific end-use a products, such as gasoline for cars or electricity for the grid, or perhaps hydrogen for fuel cells. Comparisons between different end-uses are very dubious.
Second, it is important to avoid comparing EROIs for fossil fuels stored by geochemical processes in the Earth’s crust vs nuclear power (based on a single element, uranium) vs technologies based on energy directly or indirectly from the sun.