Energy Realities

This popped up on my screen – and, man, am I jealous!  This is the site I would have liked to build.  But then I don’t quite have the resources of Statoil, The Economist, New Scientist, Slate and National Geographic.  Anyhow, nice of them to adopt the realist’s realistic approach.

It’s a mouthwatering web site.  Have a look at this(I seem to have a formatting problem embedding the graphic – will try to fix)

Here is another image from the site:

“Although not yet widely exploited, the kinetic energy in tidal currents has huge potential for generating electricity. SeaGen, the world’s first commercial-scale tidal turbine, has been operational in the waters of Strangford Lough (Northern Ireland) since 2008, producing enough power for 1,500 homes. Further installations of SeaGen systems are planned for Scottish and Canadian waters between now and 2020”

How, you ask, can the realist take time to surf the web and stumble on other web sites, when he should be out saving the world by selling insulation and boilers?  Good question.  Mea culpa.  I thought maybe, over an early Sunday cup of coffee, I might be permitted….

Then I ponder Statoil at the head of the list and it gives me pause.  Who is Statoil?

Statoil is an international energy company with operations in 36 countries. Building on 40 years of experience from oil and gas production on the Norwegian continental shelf, we are committed to accommodating the world’s energy needs in a responsible manner, applying technology and creating innovative business solutions. We are headquartered in Norway with approx. 21,000 employees worldwide, and are listed on the New York and Oslo stock exchanges.”

OK, so it’s an oil company.  A Norwegian oil company; which counts for something in terms of ethics etc.  If I read the reports at the time correctly Norwegian practices in blow-out preventers would not have allowed a spill like the BP Gulf of Mexico event.  (Please note that I do not use the words disaster, fiasco or calamity – I am being cool and calm).

Statoil also has a web site to drool over.  Lovely photography and videos, concern for the environment, support for the achievers of the next generation.  It’s all good.  The data on energyrealities should oslo be good given the fact checking prestige of the other sponsors.

Here is just one chart, and honestly, it is depressing.

Why depressing?  Look at Australia; almost all fossil fuel.  Look at France; looks great, but note it is “Alternative AND Nuclear”.  France of course has the world’s highest percentage of nuclear energy.  Look at Germany; despite their world lead in solar, and a strong push in wind power, they are still overwhelmingly fossil fuel dependent.  (I think there is a problem with the site and I can’t scroll to any other countries)

So now I have spoilt my Sunday morning may as well go all the way:

Article in Slate Magazine about how alarmists, using suspect data, undermine legitimate concerns about genetically modified crops and global warming.

Article on the BBC about the uncertainties of predicting world population.  Is the fertility reduction in economically advanced countries just a temporary blip?  Evolutionary biology suggests that the more resources you have (i.e. the wealthier you are) the more fertile offspring you produce.

Could we really have 30 billion people on the earth?

“…forecasting population will always be a highly uncertain science.  In 2004 the UN’s department of economic and social affairs tried to guess what the global population could be in 2300.  It said the population would stabilise at around nine billion by 2050 and then remain at that level for the rest of the period.  But that was just its medium estimate. Its high estimate was 36.4bn, and its low estimate just 2.3bn”

OK guys, time to stop reproducing!

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