Yesterday at work I overheard part of a consversation that hurt my brain.

Customer: It's so warm today!

Worker 1: Must be global warming.

Worker 2: Global warming isn't real.

Worker 1: Yes, it is.  Go back to school.

Worker 2: Do you believe in God?

Worker 1: Yeah.  Yeah. 

Worker 2:  [looks skeptical]

Worker 1: Yes, I do. Why would I lie about that?

To my great dismay, I missed the part where Worker 2 explains how his belief in God conteracts the Greenhouse Effect.  It kind of shocked me that they would talk about something politicized, like climate change, at work.  I was blown away when Worker 2 brought up God. 

Has anyone else encountered this kind of God-trumps-climate-change thinking?  What do you think the Climate Change Skeptic/Theist would have said next?  For my edification and general amusement, please tell me, how does this work?

Tags: Change, Climate, Global, Warming, change, climate, denial, unprofessional, work

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Then stop using Helium for kids balloons!

Helium, on Earth is extracted from natural gas, but I do not know at what concentration. Might be an interesting idea to look into other sources, or determine the changes in natural gas concentration, or even if it could be recaptured. Sadly Helium goes strait up after release.  

Helium 3 is actually not the party balloon gas. Helium 3 is a stable isotope: helium that's missing one neutron. That's the reason the fusion reaction is clean. 

The reactors fuse one helium 3 atom with one deuterium atom* or fuse two helium 3 atoms. The latter reaction creates helium (the party balloon stuff) and two protons. The former creates helium and one proton. Neither emits neutrons or decaying isotopes so there's no radioactive waste.

The free protons create electricity directly from the fusion reaction. Fission reactors, in contrast, boil water to create steam that spins a turbine generator. 

Earth's magnetic field deflects Helium 3 emitted by the sun. But the moon has no magnetic field so the lunar regolith is laced with several billions years worth.  

*Deuterium is another stable isotope: hydrogen with a neutron.  

Yes, sadly I did not notice the isotope number at the time of the posting. Please forgive...

It's all about the Benjamens:

No country will build Fusion Reactors when there are cheaper energy alternatives available.

@Gregg

The chart you posted shows several one-year cost comparisons for electricity generation, but most of it is outside the US, and it ignores petroleum costs, all non-electrical consumption, waste, consumption emissions, the cost of cleaning up those emissions, and cost trends over a longer time period.

It's all about the Benjamans:

Yes, so let's look at how they're spent in the United States (the world's worst polluter) over a longer period of time, and only now we'll include transportation, electricity production, petroleum costs, and relative CO2 consumption emissions. (CO2 emissions are excluded for nuclear power because nuclear power produces none.)

Note that combustion, particularly for transportation, accounted for 58% of carbon dioxide emissions in 2010. Electricity generation accounted for 42%. The largest share by far comes from transportation fuels, of which 95% are petroleum (crude oil) based. Petroleum prices have been climbing steadily and there's every reason to believe the trend will continue.

It's also worth noting that a fusion reactor is not a nuclear fission reactor so any cost comparison at this point would be faulty. A fusion reactor requires no uranium fuel and produces no waste, no radiation, no consumption emissions, and thus has no cost for dealing with them.

(Click on each image to see the entire image.)

Nuclear power is only a first world answer, not a third world one.  How much capitol is needed before you can get your first Kilowatt hour from fusion? Billions of dollars.

How much for coal?  The price of a match.

It will always be about the Benjamins, the least expensive source of energy always wins in the real world, it can't be helped.

We don't live on a planet with one government that is in charge of the atmosphere, we live on a planet with self-interested nation states and most of them do not have first world status.

Take America for example; we use 25 percent of the oil used everyday, most of it (as your chart shows) to move ourselves and our stuff. How does America solve it's transportation problem without reliance on liquid hydrocarbon fuels?

Nuclear power is only a first world answer, not a third world one. 

Then it's a pretty good answer, considering developed nations are the worst polluters by far. Undeveloped countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America produce less pollution. 

To clarify: I mentioned fusion power prominently not traditional nuclear power.

How much capitol is needed before you can get your first Kilowatt hour from fusion? Billions of dollars. How much for coal?  The price of a match.

Billions of dollars went into developing the technology and infrastructure for finding, extracting, transporting, refining, and distributing petroleum in the last century. 

That's the investment (and source of the profits) Big Oil is defending. 

It will always be about the Benjamins, the least expensive source of energy always wins in the real world, it can't be helped.

Cheap energy doesn't always win, Gregg. Compare the historical costs of natural gas and petroleum. Natural gas is cheaper, produces less pollution, and comes from friendlier geopolitical sources than oil. But 95% of our vehicles run on gasoline. 

We don't live on a planet with one government that is in charge of the atmosphere, we live on a planet with self-interested nation states and most of them do not have first world status.

You're failing to consider the upward trend in the cost of obtaining oil and the additional costs associated with the pollution and health problems all fossil fuels cause. And mind you that's before accounting for loss of life and trillions of dollars in damages due to global warming. The cost of future sources of energy must be compared with the projected future costs of existing sources of energy, plus the cost of the damage they do.

In other words, in the future, if the cost of fusion power is comparable to the cost of other sources of energy, but fusion does no damage to the environment, then fusion IS cheaper. 

Take America for example; we use 25 percent of the oil used everyday, most of it (as your chart shows) to move ourselves and our stuff. How does America solve it's transportation problem without reliance on liquid hydrocarbon fuels?

I've already mentioned a Manhattan Project concept to develop fusion power more quickly. But even the Pickens Plan (or a variation of it) would be a significant improvement and stepping stone to futuristic energy sources. Pickens (a Republican capitalist) wants to switch American cars from gasoline to natural gas, then build wind farms all across the midwest.

Neither of those things is going to happen but it's not because they wouldn't work. The will to do it just isn't there. And that brings us full circle. Big Oil has convinced enough Americans that global warming is a myth, no action is required, and we have no alternative but to keep using oil. None of that is true. 

I accept the scientific view that the global production of energy by burning hydrocarbon fuels is a major contributor to the change in the atmosphere commonly called "Global Warming".

For the global community to change to another form of energy production the change will need to be economically feasible.

It is this economic feasibility problem that is the largest roadblock to arresting the current trend toward more atmospheric change ie. "Global Warming".

While there are several different methods of energy production that are not hydrocarbon based, none of them offer a quick and easy changeover.

The other undeniable condition is that the "Global Warming" problem is time sensitive and time is running out.

For me I don't see any practical solutions to the problem, I feel sure that the global community will continue as it always has done and simply adapt to the conditions they create.

Since oil will still become more expensive over time, the oil companies have no incentive to change, but it is doubtful that anyone will buy that last gal of oil, except as a museum display.

Sadly, the future is not about the oil companies, it is about the continued propagation of our culture. It seems doubtful, that we would recognize this culture should we revisit it in about 100 years. Adaptation should be a mandatory class in our schools... 

While there are several different methods of energy production that are not hydrocarbon based, none of them offer a quick and easy changeover.

If one form of energy ultimately costs less than the other, there's no reason 'quick and easy' must be part of the criteria. 

We're accounting for the cost of each energy type, plus the cost of switching, plus the cost of failing to switch. Big Oil stokes climate change denial in an effort to keep the last of the aforementioned costs out of the tally. 

There are also the economic advantages of switching which fall outside the scope of energy policy. The 'energy age' would create millions of new jobs, not unlike the 'computer age' created millions of new jobs. 

The other undeniable condition is that the "Global Warming" problem is time sensitive and time is running out.

Agreed. If the public had a sense of urgency about the millions of lives and trillions of dollars at stake, the public would demand action. But they don't have that sense of urgency: another result of climate change denial.

For me I don't see any practical solutions to the problem, 

You mean there are no easy and immediate solutions, not that we are lacking solutions that would be effective. We've established that switching to natural gas would mitigate the problem in the short term. Moreover, fusion power is likely to resolve it in the long term: energy without pollution or waste.

The participating nations have contributed $12 billion to the ITER project over its 30 year lifespan. Imagine what would happen if the United States alone put $500 billion into developing fusion power and getting Helium-3 from the moon for fuel. (That's less than 0.1% of the GDP, billions less than the annual military budget, and a fraction of the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.) 

Besides creating millions of jobs, an economic boom, and radically advanced new technologies, it would mean clean energy wouldn't be a long-term prospect anymore. The US would become the global leader in it-- the Saudi Arabia of fusion energy-- and usher in another age of American global dominance. 

I feel sure that the global community will continue as it always has and simply adapt to the conditions they create.

I think you're right that this will be the scenario. But I think you're wrong about not having any alternatives or solutions that would work. 

I figure that our cheep forest lands along the west side of our coast range could become prime beach front property in time. Of course we might need to get used to the Willamette Valley inland  sea that has been absent for ~ 40 million years, wow! 

I'm afraid, Kairan, that I'm not a very good, passive listener - I would have jumped into the middle of that conversation with both feet and asked the same questions, but to those who could answer as to what was on their minds, ending all speculation.

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