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Study: Global Warming Solvable If Fossil Fuel Subsidies Given To Clean Energy

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the we're-doomed dept.

Earth 385

An anonymous reader writes A research team at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria, says it has studied how much it would cost for governments to stick to their worldwide global warming goal. They've concluded that for "a 70 per cent chance of keeping below 2 degrees Celsius, the investment will have to rise to $1.2 trillion a year." Where to get that money? The researchers say that "global investment in energy is already $1 trillion a year and rising" with more than half going to fossil fuel energy. If those subsidies were spent on renewable energy instead, the researchers hypothesize that "global warming would be close to being solved."

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How about (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392451)

. . .the government gets out of the re-distribution business?

Re:How about (1, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 3 months ago | (#47392473)

How about you stop posting talking points you can't even back up with a single fact?

Re: How about (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392501)

The reduction of government is such an obvious good that it's practically axiomatic. The evidence is overwhelming.

Re: How about (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392517)

It's axiomatic only to people that think that corporate power overrunning everyone else is an "obvious good." Not everyone buys into that.

Re: How about (5, Insightful)

JWW (79176) | about 3 months ago | (#47392765)

It never ceases to amaze me how Progressives can so blithely condemn BIG corporations and their answer to solving the "BIG Corporation" problem is always to give more power to the largest, most powerful organization on the planet. Because large size causes corruption in companies, but it must only cause nobility in governments, right?

Re: How about (3, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 3 months ago | (#47392781)

ill take corps, which i can decide to do business with or not, over a government that i cannot choose

Re: How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392921)

A lot of the time you cannot chose whether to do business with them.

In the UK, if I want to travel to a particular city by rail, then there is only one company runnning the trains on that route. In parts of the US, only one cable provider etc etc.

Re: How about (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about 3 months ago | (#47393029)

if I want to travel to a particular city by rail

well sure if you limit your options, if you had the statement "if i want to travel to city A, I can take a car built by many different companies, I can take a plane, run by many different companies. and theres also a train"

that is the same logic as if i want to play a video game i only have nintendo, well no you have other options out there, if you pigeonhole yourself thats on you.

Re: How about (4, Insightful)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 3 months ago | (#47393057)

I'll take a government that I can vote in or out over a corp that I can't, and often HAVE to do business with because it's a monopoly. :D

OR! Maybe it's not that black and white, and we need a decent balance. Oh, sorry, I'm off the talking points. Still, I don't think progressives are off to say that corporate power has grown tremendously in the last few decades and they need to be reigned in a bit. No one is saying to get rid of corps. Hell, I USE an LLC. The benefits are obvious. It's also obvious that our representatives don't represent us, they represent their donors. We need to reclaim our government from moneyed influence.

Re: How about (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 3 months ago | (#47392741)

In other words, you don't have any facts to back up your claim.

Business expenses are not subsidies.

Re:How about (4, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 3 months ago | (#47392503)

TFA is about one group of subsidy-seekers trying to relieve another set of subsidy seekers of ill-gotten gains, amiright?

Re:How about (2, Insightful)

knightghost (861069) | about 3 months ago | (#47392523)

The article seeks to equate subsidy with investment. Those really aren't the same thing.

Re: How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392551)

Your big oil buddies think they are.

Re:How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392717)

The government invests in the industry and it's called a subsidy. There's nothing confusing about this part.

Re:How about (2, Insightful)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 3 months ago | (#47392621)

The author doesn't really seem to understand the nature of subsidies, and likely gets his info from sources that use the core data in different ways.

On a per-unit energy generated standpoint, renewables get the heftiest subsidies by far in most countries, yet the net impact of CO2 reduction in any of those countries is not yet helping improve the situation on a global scale.

There is also naivety in assuming simple renewable approaches will work just anywhere, and ignoring the cost of 'backup up' of wind and solar is a common mistake made yet again. Ignoring the short term economic impacts on local behavior & human behavior is another common mistake. Not all countries have an economic underpinning that allows these shifts without significant impact. Its kind of like a "why can't we all just get along?" philosophy....we all know that peace in the world would be great, lets just stop fighting......but achieving it has been elusive.

If we get serious, and employ the right mix of renewable, nuclear, and gas, there is a chance that we can make global progress on CO2 emissions reduction.

Re:How about (0)

budgenator (254554) | about 3 months ago | (#47392635)

Your right as far as you went, but you forgot to mention that there has been no warming for almost 18 years anyways; Oh wait no citation, Here is one [woodfortrees.org] .

Re:How about (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392909)

Nice bullshit source though, "woodfortress.org" is surely going to disprove all the other 95-99% of climate scientists. Or you're high on gas fumes.

Re:How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392953)

And climate "scientists" are going to disprove that extrapolation to fit bias isn't a valid scientific method? I would like to say that the models we've been basing our predictions on are worthless, they can't backcast or forecast from know data; therefore, they are invalid.

Re:How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47393031)

" I would like to say that the models we've been basing our predictions on are worthless " - and they would say your analysis is worthless and baseless, both.

Real world problems are not simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392565)

TFA sez this:

" ... global investment in energy is already $1 trillion a year and rising with more than half going to fossil fuel energy. If those subsidies were spent on renewable energy instead, the researchers hypothesize that "global warming would be close to being solved ..."

Let's look at hot the real world operates ...

China subsidizes its solar panel companies - making the solar panels cheap, - and according to the researchers of the TFA, that is a good thing, right ?

Nope !

The rest of the world cried foul, and start slapping taxes on solar panels which came from China

Why is that ?

Well ... the main business of _any_ government on earth is not to save the Earth. Their main business is POLITICS and because of that, they simply can ***NOT*** let cheap solar panels to come into their country, even if their own country does not produce any solar panel at all

That's the real world to you, researchers !

Re:Real world problems are not simple (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 3 months ago | (#47392695)

For all the wrong reasons you would be correct. The business of govenments is business. China sought to "corner" the Solar Industry Market; and did a fine job of it, but not completly.

Re:How about (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 3 months ago | (#47392657)

I have a rock solid fact, "Planet Earth doesn't care what the atmosphere is made of." And I've got another rock solid fact, "O2 breathers have problems surviving when there is not enough O2 to breathe."

Conclusion, "Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria is full of b@ts#it."

Re: How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392827)

So you read the study referred to and it had no facts?

Re: How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392479)

Or instead of giving subsidies, maybe the governor should give out monetary prizes for results like the X-Prizes. Subsidies is just asking for abuse and a waste of tax payer money. But giving out prizes for results would probably be cheaper and more effective.

Re: How about (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 3 months ago | (#47392511)

You apparently don't understand how the personal- and corporate-dependency thingy is supposed to work in Progressive Utopia.

Re:How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392691)

Gasoline is a government-interest funded entity you capricious prick.

Re:How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392707)

Can't, that's the government's job.

Wait until those lamers find out... (3, Insightful)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 3 months ago | (#47392461)

That if you REALLY want to eliminate fossil fuel usage, the big spending is going to have to be on dams and nuclear reactors.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about 3 months ago | (#47392499)

I think it would be wiser to spend the big money on improving solar panel and battery tech. Nuclear reactors are actually a BAD choice for funding currently due to the bureaucratic gridlock around adopting new (safer) reactor designs, which *do* exist. Dams are fine and all but they just don't actually generate enough electricity and we've dammed up all the good rivers already anyway. Now, Tidal generators on the other hand might be a better direction to move the same tech into, but the thing that Solar has over rivers and coastline is that everyone has a view of the sky.

Re: Wait until those lamers find out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392531)

Obviously you've never lived in Washington state.

Re: Wait until those lamers find out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392567)

Elwha Dam has been successfully undone and salmon are back in the river!

Re: Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392895)

Obviously you've never lived in Washington state.

Or Finland. The sun does not spend much time above the horizon here in winter (and none at all in the north), and does not get much above the horizon either. Winter is when we need energy...

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (2)

towermac (752159) | about 3 months ago | (#47392575)

"Nuclear reactors are actually a BAD choice for funding currently due to the bureaucratic gridlock around adopting new (safer) reactor designs, which *do* exist. "

The bureaucratic gridlock part is what we are against.

I don't like the mindset: 'Oh well, they beat us. Can't be done now.'

Concrete and steel don't cost that much...

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392885)

It's not just the gridlock to get new designs approved, it's the ridiculous amount of bureaucratic mess just to get a nuclear powerplant even started in the first place, but that's only the tipe of the bureaucratic papermountain.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47393051)

And yet the real problem is that the power companies don't want nuclear. Or the companies in power. Right now, they can pass off nuclear as being part of the equation, and not too disruptive, but should massive scale investment develop, they know what would happen.

They'd be screwed because they'd be made obsolete.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 3 months ago | (#47392585)

I think it would be wiser to spend the big money on improving solar panel and battery tech.

There is already huge amounts of research thrown into solar, even more funding is unlikely to yield any faster research. As for batteries -- they don't generate energy. Batteries are about distributing energy that's generated elsewhere and as such do not solve the same problems.

but the thing that Solar has over rivers and coastline is that everyone has a view of the sky.

The thing about solar is.. it requires huge amounts of space and it's fucking expensive to maintain. The panels collect dust, pollen, bird crap, snow, younameit, and either someone has to go there physically and spend time cleaning them up or you have to have some sort of a robotic system for that. Even just a small amount of stuff on the panel can quickly drop its efficiency by several percentage points.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 3 months ago | (#47392639)

True. Building them in the Sahara would mitigate some of these issues, however there are three major impacting factors there: erosion, sand deposits and savages.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

ComputerGeek01 (1182793) | about 3 months ago | (#47392671)

As for batteries -- they don't generate energy.

How is it that batteries work in your little world then? Please, enlighten us. Because here in reality they operate by using a chemical reaction to transfer electrons between two differing metal plates. You could try to argue and say that isn't generating energy, it is simply releasing it. But then I would be unable to help myself from pointing out that energy in fact cannot be created or destroyed.

Batteries != Capacitors;

You're right about solar panels in that they do take up a metric butt-load of space. As for cleaning them, that is a real problem. If only we had the technology to do that automatically. Maybe some kind of wiper blades attached to an oscillating motor to clear away particulates so that light could pass through a transparent medium designed to shield the panels from the wind ... Hmmm ... What technology could we possibly posses that would accomplish this feat of engineering?

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 3 months ago | (#47392723)

You're right about solar panels in that they do take up a metric butt-load of space. As for cleaning them, that is a real problem. If only we had the technology to do that automatically. Maybe some kind of wiper blades attached to an oscillating motor to clear away particulates so that light could pass through a transparent medium designed to shield the panels from the wind ... Hmmm ... What technology could we possibly posses that would accomplish this feat of engineering?

If only it was that easy. You see, sand and all sorts of sharp particles have a tendency of scratching things and solar panels are very easy to scratch. The kinds of wipers they use on cars would quickly result in severe deterioration in the panels' effectiveness. If it was that easy then why do you think they don't already use that? There are plenty of companies like e.g. http://www.solarfarmcleaning.c... [solarfarmcleaning.com] that are specifically aimed at providing high-quality cleaning-services and you can just google "solar farm cleaning" to find dozens more.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

caseih (160668) | about 3 months ago | (#47392883)

You're being pedantic of course, but for all intents and purposes, batteries aren't the real source of the power we use every day. Gas, coal, or nuclear generating stations are. Batteries get charged up with that power, then take it to where it's needed and release it. You said it yourself, energy cannot be created nor destroyed. All the batteries in the world aren't going to stop global warming if electricity is coming from Coal. Some battery chemistries form batteries that have a full charge when manufactured, and some of these are not rechargeable. Therefore we'd have to class these in the same category as other non-renewable energy sources. Which doesn't help the problem of finding renewable, clean energy production sources.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

Uecker (1842596) | about 3 months ago | (#47392763)

Solar panels are usually cleaned by rain, but even in absence of rain as in California the small increase in efficiency is usually not not considered to be worth it.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

mpe (36238) | about 3 months ago | (#47392871)

The thing about solar is.. it requires huge amounts of space and it's fucking expensive to maintain.

A big problem with both wind and solar is that output can vary effectivly at random.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (2)

Imrik (148191) | about 3 months ago | (#47393049)

The battery tech is a necessary part of using solar as it allows you to timeshift the power from the middle of the day and use it after the sun sets.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392591)

Yeah, and the rivers don't dry out at night as well.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

ggrocca (1228552) | about 3 months ago | (#47392619)

Tidal is marginal at best.

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the... [ucsd.edu]

"But my overall goal is to assess which forms of power can take on a substantial fraction (possibly up to a quarter) of our power needs. Only those sources capable of expansion at this scale stand any chance of achieving even half of that. Tidal is not one of those players."

Nuclear should be the way to go until we achieve fusion (improbable) or achieve a way to use solar/wind along with a scalable grid battery (slightly more probable but still difficult). That and natural gas which is abundant and the cleanest hydrocarbon.

We should ditch coal as soon as possible. And diesel too.

Oh, by the way, this is obligatory reading for everyone interested in this topic:
http://www.withouthotair.com/ [withouthotair.com]

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (2)

Uecker (1842596) | about 3 months ago | (#47392825)

I am always surprised about people promoting nuclear. Nuclear is hopelessly un-economocal, which means that investing in it even as a stopgap measure is a waste of resources. Even today, conventional power plants are not usually build without large subsidies. But conventional nuclear power plants are no solution to our energy problems. Only with breeder reactors is it possible to scale up nuclear to provide a significant part of the world's energy needs. And breeder reactors are even more expensive and costly...

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

Imrik (148191) | about 3 months ago | (#47393077)

People promote nuclear because it's really the only alternative to fossil fuels we have. Hydro, tidal, and geothermal are limited to certain areas and are limited by scaling, solar and wind have limited uptime and take space.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 3 months ago | (#47392683)

We are already spending a crapload on solar panels and battery tech. Panels are reaching efficiency limits wrt cost, and batteries, although greatly improved, are still way too expensive and are nowhere near on track to become cost effective for mass application of renewable smoothing despite decades of huge R&D budgets by countries and companies alike. Hoping those move fast enough to provide the solution is just that.... hope. Solar is only somewhat workable in lower latitudes. Nuclear is already here. We need to remove the bureaucratic gridlock. Maybe that's relying on hope as well, but from a technology standpoint, its the only solution that can provide significant & reliable CO2 free energy today.

Had Germany put all its solar subsidies into nuclear over the last 8 years, they would be on track to have many times more carbon free electrical generation than they will.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

mpe (36238) | about 3 months ago | (#47392893)

Had Germany put all its solar subsidies into nuclear over the last 8 years, they would be on track to have many times more carbon free electrical generation than they will.

An even better idea would be to put all of the "renewable" subsidies into nuclear. Which is more truely described as "renewable" anyway.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 3 months ago | (#47393055)

Germany had commercial nuclear power since the sixties. There is still no permanent waste repository here. Besides, Germany has invested a lot of money in nuclear power in the 80ies. It didn't work out. Thorium pebble bed reactors were a massive failure.

Besides, the German population doesn't want nuclear power.
Here is a pretty good explanation, why: http://www.worldpolicy.org/blo... [worldpolicy.org]

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392757)

Nuclear reactors are actually a BAD choice for funding currently due to the bureaucratic gridlock around adopting new (safer) reactor designs, which *do* exist.

Actually, the gridlock is an intended result. For the power companies to scapegoat so they don't have to build more nuclear reactors and destroy their economic predation model.

It's the California Power Crisis writ large. Except unlike Enron, they're in it for the long haul, not the short-term profit from a few obvious shutdowns.

So they stall and dither and blame the great evil of government for all that ails them. And the suckers buy it.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 3 months ago | (#47392677)

But increasing supply of an alternative is only one way to decrease demand for something. So heavy investment in hydro and nuclear isn't required to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 3 months ago | (#47392711)

Whom ever modded you as insightful probably have good intentions, but are idiots. Nuclear Reactors generate Nuclear Waste.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 3 months ago | (#47392819)

if only we had a depository for such things, perhaps in a mountain somewhere way underground where it wont cause any problems.....

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 3 months ago | (#47392839)

Nuclear Reactors generate Nuclear Waste.

Solar Power demands Big Batteries, which are inevitably Highly Toxic Waste.

Stop living in one-sided fantasy land.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 3 months ago | (#47392727)

It would be more like what is happening in Germany. Massive investment in wind, solar, wave and geothermal, but crucially also a massive investment in a new smarter grid to support it all.

I have no doubt that it will happen in Europe, but the US is going to find it hard. Things like subsidising residential solar are seen as un-American and socialist, even though it's fine to heavily subsidise companies building fossil fuel or nuclear plants. The grid is a money-making privately owned infrastructure, not something that is supposed to work for the public's benefit. In other words, the problems are all cultural.

would have to flood 80% of the country, cause ggw (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about 3 months ago | (#47392777)

Hydroelectric is good, in the places where it makes sense such as Niagara Falls.

To provide for all of US energy needs would require 20,000 dams, each with the capacity of Hoover dam. Because Hoover was located in one of the best places possible, it flooded only 100 square miles. We' e already dammed most of the best spots, so new dams would be in less ideal places.

The 20,000 dams required would flood 80% of the continental US, so that's probably not a solution. There may be a few places remaining to add a little bit more hydro. However, we should keep in mind hydro is responsible for all of the catastrophic accidents that kill thousands of people. See for example Banqiao. Also, the MAIN reason to avoid fossil fuels is greenhouse gases, and hydro produces about the same amount of greenhouse gases, so it doesn't really help with the primary goal. International Rivers has some good information about that if you're interested.

Nuclear makes a lot of sense, with the one main drawback being a concern about safety. A worst-case nuclear accident could, in theory, kill a lot of people. On the other hand, hydro and coal actually DO kill thousands of people. Solar electric doesn't kill people, but it doesn't produce reliable electricity either, so it's only indirectly dangerous - wasting time and money playing with solar ensures that we remain stuck with coal.

Re:Wait until those lamers find out... (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 3 months ago | (#47392949)

That if you REALLY want to eliminate fossil fuel usage, the big spending is going to have to be on dams and nuclear reactors.

Hydro power won't do. The world technical potential for hydro power is about 16 PWh, while the world demand for energy is something like 500 PWh, so there is no way that those 16 PWh could ever make a significant contribution.

Nuclear power's technical potential is only limited by the effectiveness of the technology, so nuclear could be a viable replacement given the right advances in nuclear technology. It is unfortunately possible to rule out current nuclear technology because it simply takes too long and costs too much to build a power plant using that technology. If the US government or state governments began funneling money into current state of the art nuclear power now then the first new nuclear energy due to that investment would come online in the 2030's and it would probably take centuries to replace fossil fuel that way.

For nuclear to be a viable replacement for fossil fuels I think we would need to imagine a nuclear reactor the size of a shipping container that could be made in a factory, or at least a reactor that could be assembled on site from a small number of components all of which are small enough to fit inside shipping containers. This could probably lead to dramatic reductions in the time it takes to build a reactor, which I think would allow nuclear power to come online rapidly enough to match the depletion rates of dwindling fossil fuel reserves.

Rocky Mountain Institute - Amory Lovins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392465)

Watch any video of Amory Lovins and wonder why he isn't in charge of energy in the USA.

OPEC to subsidize its demise? (4, Insightful)

fche (36607) | about 3 months ago | (#47392469)

TFA is loonie. According to its own data, the "fossil fuel subsidies" it is hoping to redirect are those that third-world OPEC type countries currently give to their own populations in the form of supercheap oil. Withholding that money would be regime suicide (plus possibly population genocide).

Re:OPEC to subsidize its demise? (1)

maeka (518272) | about 3 months ago | (#47392543)

This.

The subsidies for fossil fuels by first-world western nations (and China) (those in a position to fund green energy technologies) are a small percentage of the total. Most fossil fuel subsidies are done by oil producing nations as a form of population pacification. The idea that these funds are available for redirection is ludicrous.

Re:OPEC to subsidize its demise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392923)

This.

This 'this' thing is really starting to grate.

How do you solve a problem that doesn't exist? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392477)

Title refers to Global Warming. I thought it was changed to Climate Change to make it a little more plausible after the coldest winter in anyone's memory? I don't understand why we're trying so desperately to solve a something that is a natural cycle of nature. It's masterful how the 'clean energy' folks keep making hail mary passes to go after piles of cash. My greatest fear is that one of these times, through sheer and blind luck, they're going to catch one. It's fucking criminal; I say take all the bank CEO's and global warming scientists and throw them in cells right alongside of Bernie Madoff - or better yet, send them to Iraq with 'Jesus Loves You' sandwich boards on. What's going to happen when we 'solve' the global warming problem that never existed, by artificially cooling Earth, and then the trend swings the other way? Snowball Earth? Fuck, leave things along. Please. Just leave them alone for once. And stop trying to reach into my pocket and grab my wallet, or I'll break your hand.

Re:How do you solve a problem that doesn't exist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392509)

Keep putting your hands over your ears and screaming "I can't hear you!" like a five year old.

Re:How do you solve a problem that doesn't exist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392699)

Anyone else notice how the global warming crowd has switched full gear into "there is no debate!" and outright name calling ever since their side got outright caught faking studies and manipulating data?

Do you people actually think anyone buys it now or you just not care anymore?

Serious question, because you would think that this would of gone exactly the other direction and the people who faked the data would be discredited beyond ever flipping a big mac again and the whole movement would of collapsed under its own corrupted weight, but it seems like instead they've just doubled down.

Re: How do you solve a problem that doesn't exist? (2, Insightful)

elawford (564089) | about 3 months ago | (#47392605)

So if you consulted with 100 doctors and 97 told them you that you had cancer, you'd go with the 3?? Is it only climate science you dismiss so flippantly, or is this internet thing also another liberal plot...

Re: How do you solve a problem that doesn't exist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392651)

Yes.

- Steve Jobs.

Re: How do you solve a problem that doesn't exist? (1)

Stumbles (602007) | about 3 months ago | (#47392697)

Yeah and when you're 97 doctors say the science is settled as the pro-global warming scientist insist upon then you know for sure those 97 doctors are talking out their ass. No science is ever settled.

Re: How do you solve a problem that doesn't exist? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392735)

Well, if I found out the 97 doctors falsified the test results so they could bill my insurance company for chemo treatments, I think I'd go with the 3 and be pretty pissed at the other 97.

Why subsidize energy? (3, Insightful)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 3 months ago | (#47392487)

Energy is a lot like roads an bridges in the way it promotes prosperity by its very existence. One can imagine a world where energy does not need military protection or special tax treatment, but it would be a world where national rivalries in power and economics are much subdues compared to the present. We're not there yet, but a rapid transition to renewable energy could probably get us closer more than just about any other move. Let's make the switch.

Re:Why subsidize energy? (0)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 3 months ago | (#47392899)

The thing is that cheap energy reduces poverty and because poverty not only kills but has plenty of other negative population effects, expect countries to continue to fight over cheap energy.

Global Warming worries are missing the forest for the trees. Poverty already kills more than global warming ever will even in the worst case scenario of the IPCC (which is heavily politicized to exaggerate.)

You want to save vast amounts of people? Give the impoverished cheap energy.. ANY cheap energy.. you want to kill vast amounts of people? Make energy more expensive.

Subsidies and lobbying (1)

rduke15 (721841) | about 3 months ago | (#47392493)

Maybe it could theoretically work (or maybe not), but it's irrelevant because almost impossible to do.

The problem is: how do you take away money (subsidies) from those who have a lot of it (partly precisely from subsidies)?

They can spend a lot for lobbying and public relations in general. The industries which would need to receive these subsidies don't have comparable means for their campaigns, and in part these industries don't even exist yet, because the money is lacking to develop them.

In social movements, many poor can force a few rich to pay more.

But industries are different. How do a few poor convince that the money of many very rich industries (which also feed many workers) should go to them?

You think? (1)

backslashdot (95548) | about 3 months ago | (#47392497)

Well we have known this for a long long time. Problem is how do we get the government to stop subsidizing fossil fuel?
Voting against the tea party nutcases might be a good start. They are they ones forcing these subsidies: http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/29/... [cnn.com]

Land Area that is needed to power the whole world with solar panels using existing technology: http://www.gembapantarei.com/s... [gembapantarei.com]

Re:You think? (3, Informative)

felrom (2923513) | about 3 months ago | (#47392733)

Today on /. we find out who doesn't know the difference between subsidies, tax deductions, tax breaks, and taxes.

From the linked CNN article above:

Among other things, the measure killed on Thursday would have ended oil production's categorization under the tax code as a form of domestic manufacturing eligible for a deduction worth 6% of net income, according to New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, the bill's author.

The measure also would have prevented oil companies from claiming foreign royalty payments as a credit against American taxes, and cut the ability of companies to deduct numerous costs associated with the drilling process.

So we have a bunch of tax deductions that literally every company in the country is eligible for, but when the oil industry takes them they become subsidies and are bad.

Wow.....

Re:You think? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 3 months ago | (#47392867)

of course, lets face it, think of how stupid the avg american is, and remember 1/2 are stupider than that.

Most things that are talked about by politicians when it comes to subsidies are not only bending of the truth but straight up lies. For example the lie that the oil companies pay no taxes. it is a bullshit lie that many love to believe and keep perpetrating the myth for example EXXON payed a REAL tax number of 9.5 BILLION Dollars in total taxes in 2010. http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]

people LOVE to fudge numbers, and the truth is it usually hurts them too. most people ONLY think of the federal income tax (which should be abolished) but we have state taxes, local taxes other fees etc etc.

Long story short, people really need to stop talking about the oil industry and politics together because people are fucking stupid

Subsidies (1)

giorgist (1208992) | about 3 months ago | (#47392527)

Well ... people have a "green" conscious but a non-green wallet. Bumping up the cost of fuel will mean reduction in their standard of living. That may not go down well.

Re:Subsidies (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | about 3 months ago | (#47392637)

Given that those subsidies are tax funded, people are already paying ;-)

Re:Subsidies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392647)

Food prices are going up. Medical costs are going up. Clothing prices have been going up.

Energy prices have been going up.

And yet, SUVs and other gas guzzlers are still selling quite well.

And people are still loading up their homes with energy using toys. People leaving chargers plugged in all the time - which use energy even if there's no device being charged - raising their bills.

Then as things become more efficient so people use more of them netting a higher usage and cost of energy. [wikipedia.org]

So, people do not give a shit.

Eventually, I think it'll hit a point where energy becomes so expensive (at least in the States because we are sticking to fossil fuels) and there are so many gadgets, that people will then take notice.

MOST people only change when there is a catastrophe. We are short sighted creatures and our society is controlled by folks whose only motivation is short term profit.

The less-energy-for-poor-countries "solution" (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 3 months ago | (#47392535)

I'm absolutely sure that you can reduce emissions that way. But at what cost?

Power plants are not being built for fun, they actually serve a purpose, namely that of generating electricity in places that need electricity. In the world today, that happens mainly in places where electricity is scarce and absolutely needed to get out of poverty. It so happens to be the case that fossil power plants are much less expensive on a per-kWh basis and far more reliable than wind and solar. Hydro is a serious competitor but it doesn't matter where you want to build a hydrodam, there will always be greenpeace or some other transnational pseudo-environmental outfit that will organize protests for whatever madeup reason without any sort of constructive suggestions or criticism at all. (To pick the most recent example, Chile could have replaced some 20% of electricity generation with hydro, but protests against the dam prevented it.)

What happens when you invest the money that currently goes to fossil power plants into "renewables" like solar or wind? (Which are the only ones left for the most part.) You'll have less power. You'll have a completely unreliable supply of power. Sure that "solves" the problem, but only if you pretent that electricity really isn't necessary. Which is what our so-called enviromentalists tend to think, because they live in countries where there has never been such a problem.

Re:The less-energy-for-poor-countries "solution" (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#47392877)

I'm absolutely sure that you can reduce emissions that way. But at what cost?

What's the cost of not reducing emissions?

Developing countries are going to have to not only choose renewables, but also encourage the rest of us to use them, or we will all suffer. It doesn't matter what the cost is, does it? The cost of not doing it is far higher.

Re:The less-energy-for-poor-countries "solution" (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 3 months ago | (#47392969)

You go to a developing country and tell them they're fine. They don't need development. They don't need electricity unlike all the developed countries.

And what is all the "suffering" you're talking about? You mean like New Orleans where all the politicians were too corrupt to build a couple of levees for a few tens of million dollars, even though engineers had warned them for decades in advance that the city will be flooded the next time cat 3 hurricanes comes along? Or do you mean hurricane Sandy that was a cat. 0 hurrican in New York and nobody was prepared, even though real cat.2 and cat. 3 hurricanes hit the city in 1938, 1896, 1869, 1821 and 1815 and nobody bothered preparing for the next time that would happen for the only reason that the last time was so long ago? Or do you mean hurricane Haiyan that was the third time the city of Tacloban was leveled by a hurricane, after 1898 and 1912? Do you mean the floods in Pakistan in 2010, that were lower than those of 1929? Or do you mean a couple of mild droughts that are the "worst" since the 1950ies, deliberately leaving out the dust bowl in the 1930ies? Or the droughts in California that ignore the geological record? [mercurynews.com] Or do you mean the droughts on the atolls that weren't brought about by lack of rain, but by a three to fivefold increase of population (and thus water consumption) in the last 50 years?

What suffering do you mean?

Infinite Bank Account (1, Insightful)

amoeba1911 (978485) | about 3 months ago | (#47392615)

Suppose you had a bank account with $20,000,000,000,000 (20 trillion) in it. That's so much wealth that it can be considered infinite for all practical purposes. There is no monarchy, but with that much resources in your name, you are practically king for life, your children are king for life, your children's children are king for life.

Then one day some hippies tell you that you shouldn't withdraw your money from this bank because it will destroy the lives of billions of people. They're saying we need to invest in renewable energy so save ourselves. So you face a dillema:
A. Keep your infinite bank account, and be the king of a world where billions of people are doomed.
B. Give up your infinite bank account, and be a nobody in a world where everyone is much better off.

What do you choose? What do they choose? Keep in mind, most of those who have this infinite bank account are not the compassionate kind of people.

Re:Infinite Bank Account (3, Interesting)

Stumbles (602007) | about 3 months ago | (#47392681)

Your assumption there is no compassion contained in those with these infinite bank account owners reveals you have the same level of blinders as your hippies. Neither is your example compassionate. It cannot be as you are leading the reader to choose the option of taking by force what is not theirs under the name of misplaced altruism and attempted shaming.

There is no dilemma, the answer is simple; keep what I got and use it as I see fit; the hippies and you can kiss my ass.

Re:Infinite Bank Account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392933)

I enjoyed this, it was just like watching a politician talk: ...Your assumption there is no compassion... ...keep what I got and use it as I see fit; the hippies and you can kiss my ass....

Re:Infinite Bank Account (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 3 months ago | (#47392749)

Give up 99% of it, still be insanely rich and make a name for yourself in history as the guy who fixed the world?

Look at Bill Gates. Used to be a complete dick in business, totally ruthless. Eventually had more money than he could ever spend and decided to do something interesting and good with it. Doing so did not really impact his quality of life, maybe even made it better as people are less hostile to him now in light of his charitable work.

The real problem is corporations. Individuals can do that kind of thing, but a group of people in a corporation can't.

Re:Infinite Bank Account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392853)

How is this related to the topic?

Re:Infinite Bank Account (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392855)

Uh no.

More like you have two banks, one that your money is currently in that is burning down/wearing out/slowly becoming insolvent ( whatever ) and another bank that is more long lived but not infinite ( if nothing else the sun is going to eat the earth). If you put your money in bank #2 then you will still make a profit, probably more so in total than now but there is a lag period. There is the moving cost to consider as well. When do you move your money from bank 1 to bank 2? Remember money equals people's lives doing stuff, even a 1% loss due to bad timing means a whole bunch of people die/become destitute/suffer bad consequences.

Personally I think that renewable energy won't solve the underlying problem. Population and its demands for living will expand to exceed the capacity of the technology to sustain it. That was true for Easter Island, Aztecs, Mayans, Egyptians, Romans and Kmer Rouge ( Angkor Wat time frame) and probably a bunch of others that don't come to mind immediately. Renewables might let us expand a bit more but the effects on the environment will just take a bit longer to build up to a crash of some sort. We are at around 7 x 10^9 people now, if we reach 20 x 10^ people before the crash so what, just bigger piles of dead.

Re:Infinite Bank Account (5, Insightful)

silfen (3720385) | about 3 months ago | (#47392997)

Then one day some hippies tell you that you shouldn't withdraw your money from this bank because it will destroy the lives of billions of people. They're saying we need to invest in renewable energy so save ourselves.

"Money" that people have "in the bank" is really ownership of companies. What you call "withdrawing" means reallocating that money, closing one kind of business and firing its employees, and opening another kind of business and hiring people there. Whether that's a good or bad deal depends on exactly what the new business does compared to the old business.

What do you choose? What do they choose?

They choose to attempt to maximize the return on their investment, which is both in their interest and in society's interest.

So you face a dillema:

No, the "dilemma" you imagine doesn't exist. Rich people aren't hurt by shifting their investments from one kind of company to another kind. If Obama pours billions of subsidies into "green energy", the same people who own oil companies and profit from it will just switch over to those companies. So will your pension fund.

Really the only question is whether the new "green energy companies" will deliver what they promise; that's the part that's doubtful, because if they did, why wouldn't people be investing in them voluntarily?

Coming up short. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392669)

That last link says global fossil fuels subsidies are $540B, less than half the necessary amount they've calculated. The headline is plainly wrong. They're saying we'd have to take all the money currently spent developing fossil fuels (including in the private sector), along with an additional $200B/year to do this.

Imaginary Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392673)

Eliminate all subsidies. Why create a real problem, as the result of an imagined one.

Non-existent problem solvable if you give us money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392687)

Global warming is a natural phenomena, connected to Sun and Earth cycles.
Burning fossil fuels do NOT make it worse.
Nor there is anything we can do to make it lighter.

The only thing that happens is great tremendous THEFT of peoples money, that are mostly wasted by traitors.
And economic stagnation due to high prices of fuel and energy (in EU 4 times more expensive than they should be).

It's time to hang these political and scientific traitors.

the usual propaganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392713)

Hmm, let us take a look at this LIMITS-Paper...

Who pays these subsidies and who receives it:
"Oil-exporting countries were responsible for approximately two-thirds of total fossil subsidies, while greater than 95% of all direct subsidies occurred in developing countries."

So the citizens of oil-exporting countries and the poorest of the world should pay more for energy so that the green sector can make more money?

Re:the usual propaganda (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 3 months ago | (#47392887)

of course! because you know, greed or something? I cant even keep the madness straight in my head anymore....

all for ending subsidies (1)

silfen (3720385) | about 3 months ago | (#47392715)

I'm all for ending fossil fuel subsidies. While we're at it, we should also end the other major subsidy related to carbon emissions: agricultural subsidies.

But that won't reduce carbon emissions appreciably, even if we took all that money and handed it to "green energy companies" on a silver platter.

Re:all for ending subsidies (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 3 months ago | (#47392783)

Please define "fossil fuel subsidies". I'm not aware of any; every time someone tries to use that term they start claiming things like military spending, business expenses, etc., but they can never come up with anything that resembles a subsidy.

Re:all for ending subsidies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47392951)

How about this list ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_subsidies#United_States

Solvable? (1)

amightywind (691887) | about 3 months ago | (#47392791)

What does 'solvable' mean? Woodstock mean temperature 1968? These hippies don't even know what they're selling. Give subsidies to the politically connected? I'd rather burn by beloved hydrocarbon fuels. In the last 6 years I have made a fortune investing in companies that are out of favor. Big oil, big pharma, genetically modified agribusiness. It look like my run of luck will continue.

Politics Too? (1)

Pitawg (85077) | about 3 months ago | (#47392837)

Doesn't Robin Hood Theory go for bad politics as well as bad energy? And would not be limited to only one area of life.

Take the money from those lousy, good for nothing, bad politicians in office, and all kinds of good can be done!

Why limit yourselves to only fixing energy? Get those ignorant, self-serving, A#%holes out of office! The rest will fall into line at the same time.

Start with coal... (2, Interesting)

jonwil (467024) | about 3 months ago | (#47393085)

We need to start by ending ALL money spent by the governments that supports or benefits the coal industry (direct subsidies, governments building rail lines, ports etc to benefit the coal industry, building new coal fired power stations instead of building better alternatives etc)

And no I dont care if you loose your job because no-one wants the coal your mine (or mining town) produces anymore, much like I dont care that people no longer want asbestos or buggy whips or any other obsolete technology.

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