trash returned on trash invested
I suppose at some point, my sidebar links might explode. I link to Viridian / World Changing, as well as James Howard Kunstler. I've tried to provide a bit of a buffer - but html accidents do happen, and if the two should touch, there might be an explosion, like matter and anti-matter.
The heart of the disagreement is this: Kunstler argues the future will turn out to be "old fashioned" green, likely involving sour faced farmers (think American Gothic) holding organic pitchforks. The Viridian movement seeks to design a "bright green" future. What does a bright green future mean? Imagine the rain forest ascendant, with a huge plug to power all the laptops belonging to the howler monkeys. I imagine it will also glow.
Both are marketing a vision of the future.
Now, I don't mean to pick on these two competing visions. In fact, I have noticed that there are aspects of these philosophies that venn up, as when each propose efficient urban patterns for living that would save energy and increase standards of living.
I'm fond of all my links. Most I read daily, though some are vestigial organs. When they attack each other, it is rather exciting. I must take sides, if only for a day. And today I respond to blue.
Viridian Note 00449: The Mad Max Scenario
You can make synthetic oil from coal, but the only time this was tried on a large scale was by the Nazis under wartime conditions, using impressive amounts of slave labor. (((So, then, the Nazis had a Peak Oil problem, right? Did this make the Nazis collapse without a shot being fired?)))
Humans are pretty good at turning gruel into useful work -- for a time. If one were to instead propose using an industrial process to convert coal to gasoline, now we can hunker down to brass tacks and do an EROEI analysis. Cliff notes -- It is better to burn coal for electricity than convert it into liquid fuel. In an energy famine, would one waste energy, or start handing out donkeys?
Under optimal conditions, it could take ten years to get a new generation of nuclear power plants into operation, and the price may be beyond our means. Uranium is also a resource in finite supply. (...) ((( (...) the Manhattan Project didn't take ten years, and nuclear power wasn't beyond the very modest means of the 1940s.)))
The Manhattan project wasn't modest, but the safety standards of the day sure were. That's why the Columbia River glows, and you must drive through certain (large) stretches of Washington State with your windows rolled up.
Proposals to distill trash and waste into oil by means of thermal depolymerization depend on the huge waste stream produced by a cheap oil and gas economy in the first place. (((Wow, a Peak Oil trash crisis! We might run out of trash! Why isn't the Main Stream Media covering this menace?)))
This is a great point. Indeed! Our Pétrole Epoque has left us with a TREMENDOUS endowment of trash. After oil runs out, immediately we shall begin to power our civilization on this heaped up refuse, and in fact, create NEW stylish trash with our trash endowment. However, the dark underbelly to this shining city by the sea is pointed out by our bearded prophet of DOOM, Kunstler.
You see, it is a question of Trash Returned on Trash Invested, or TROTI for short. And in converting Trash to Trash by way of thermal depolymerization, Trash is lost FOREVER.
Come to think of it, sign me up.
Thought should precede sarcasm. Peak Oil is not conventional consensus reality. Cheap energy underpins our civilization at present and people who draw attention to this fact are not the clowns in this narrative, even if some of their specific future scenarios are wacky and deridable.