Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Nuclear energy may not even be carbon neutral

Greenhouse gases are emitted in all stages of the lifecycle of a nuclear reactor: construction, operation, fuel production, dismantling and waste disposal. Leaving out any of these five stages will bias estimates towards lower values.
The last two contributions, dismantling and waste disposal are particularly difficult to estimate. Not many commercial reactors have been fully decommissioned. Also there is still no scientific or political consensus on the approach to be used for the long-term storage of waste.
The fuel preparation contribution is also problematic. Considerable amounts of carbon are released in the mining, milling and separation of the uranium from the ore. Also the carbon emitted is very dependent on the concentration of uranium in the ore.
It's important to appreciate that these three problematic contributions, fuel production, dismantling and waste disposal are either non-existent or small contributions in the case of electricity generation by renewable technologies. Estimates of the carbon footprint of renewably generated electricity therefore should be much more reliable than those for nuclear.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Hazardous chemicals in solar panels

During manufacture and after the disposal of solar panels, they release hazardous chemicals including cadmium compounds, silicon tetrachloride, hexafluoroethane and lead. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Carbon offsets via forest protection [REDD] are mostly myth

REDD-Monitor : "It is entirely untrue that all 13 of the projects have stable tenure over forest lands. Several of the communities have entirely collapsed with no practical management over forest lands. 15 year agreements with the Forestry Administration which can be revoked at any time, and which in practice have been entirely undermined by the presence of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces in no way constitutes secure tenure. There are now entire villages located within core project forests which community members have been powerless to stop. A large tract of the largest community forest area is also to be submerged by a Chinese built dam, yet the temporary forest agreements were ignored."

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Using methane hydrate for fuel a deadly mistake

BBC News: "Quite apart from reaching them at the bottom of deep ocean shelves, not to mention operating at low temperatures and extremely high pressure, there is the potentially serious issue of destabilising the seabed, which can lead to submarine landslides.

A greater potential threat is methane escape. Extracting the gas from a localised area of hydrates does not present too many difficulties, but preventing the breakdown of hydrates and subsequent release of methane in surrounding structures is more difficult.

And escaping methane has serious consequences for global warming - recent studies suggest the gas is 30 times more damaging than CO2."

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Subsidizing carbon emissions and calling it carbon neutral

World Economic Forum: "Needless to say, it does not make economic sense to import eight million tons of wood pellets yearly across the Atlantic Ocean. However, the British government has provided over $1 billion in annual subsidies to utilities to pay the cost of pellet production and transport."

Friday, May 12, 2017

Autonomous vehicles mean more sprawl

CityLab : "One school of thought on autonomous vehicles holds that they’ll increase traffic and sprawl: Without expensive fuel and the soul-gnawing investment in time wasted commuting behind the wheel, people will feel the pain of driving less, live even further away from urban centers, and basically use robot-cars for all manner of frivolous pursuits."

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Electric car direct subsidy $7,500 per vehicle

Cars promote sprawl and growth. Cars and car infrastructure are subsidized. Growth is the biggest threat to the biosphere. Electric cars are just another excuse to subsidize growth.

dailykos: "Most of us Nissan Leaf drivers got our cars via a Nissan lease deal. It’s a win-win: Nissan gets its Leafs out the door, bags the $7500 Federal rebate, plus some of the car’s value from us (as down/monthly payments), then gets the car back in 2-3 years to sell it again. Meanwhile, because Nissan factors the full $7.5k into the lease deal, we get a much cheaper lease than for comparable ICE cars, and can partake in the EV revolution without the risk of getting stuck with a badly depreciated, outdated tech product."