Saturday, May 20, 2017

Common questions on climate change

1.  Are renewable energy systems even viable or are they just an Utopian dream of impractical scientists? And even if they are viable wouldn’t it cost an arm and a leg to make them viable?

Among the multitude of scientific journal articles, which answers both these questions separately, one article answers both these questions succinctly in a single paper.

In 2011 Jacobson et al. proposed a 100% WWS (wind, water, solar) energy system which can supplant the current fossil fuel industry. They found that production cost of WWS is exactly same as current fossil fuel-derived energy systems and that includes costs of production, storing, and transmission (with transmission losses). Their conclusion is that “ … barriers to a 100% conversion to WWS power worldwide are primarily social and political, not technological or even economic.”

2. Which countries invest the most in renewables?

The current standing (May, 2017) is:

3. What is geothermal energy?

Geothermal Energy is a viable a source of renewable energy. A NatGeo documentary Steam Drilling (2012) explores the steamy world of geothermal energy production, its challenges, and its tremendous potential as a renewable energy source.

The only problem with geothermal energy is its location dependence. Only a few places on Earth are fortunate enough to have access to geothermal energy reserves. Krafla Power Station in Iceland is one such place. Till now it remains unique in its production of geothermal energy.

4. Many liberals claim that 97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is real and that it is man-made while conservatives say that it is a made-up number and the actual consensus is much lower. Who is right and where did this number come from?

The 97% comes from a series of surveys and meta-analysis done by climate scientists on the level of consensus in their own community. See this short video to get a quick update on how the number is arrived at or read the article at skepticalscience. However, the most convincing argument always come from a paper published in a reputed a peer-reviewed journal.  And that argument can be found in the recent article by Cook J et al 2016 Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming Environ. Res. Lett. 11 048002 IOPscience.

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