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16 Comments

  1. What about the Carbon and offgas from Burning Straw?
    Then the oil propulsion-transportation of Vehicles?
    ‘With no energy Storage, they import Electricity from the mainland source: coal…”
    If someone were to realisticly and critically look at the CO2 balance, I wonder what they would find……
    Truth is that this would be a good infomercial for reducing Petrolium based dependance and exposure, that is all .

  2. Rod, you hit the nail on the head. The “CO2 negative” claim comes from drawing a narrow circle around one aspect of life on the island, i.e., net electrical energy demand. Using the same criteria, any number of ranchers and farmers here in the USA who lease their land for use by wind turbines could make the same claim.
    I am certain that overall, the island is still well CO2 positive. There were any number of fossil fueled vehicles moving about, and there is plenty of CO2 generated in manufacture of the wind turbines, cars, trucks, tractors, heating plant, etc brought onto the island.
    Towards the end of the report, it was admitted that when the wind does not blow, electrical power produced from coal is supplied to the island. I feel confident in stating that when power is exported from the island, the power is NOT used to capture CO2 to “make up” for the burning of that coal.
    I thought one of the early scenes in the report was quite symbolic of what is really going on — it showed a fossil fuel powered truck driving by, with a stalled wind turbine in the background.

  3. This island is like someone who has a very low electric bill, but that’s only because he is spending so much time driving around in fossil fueled cars, going out to malls, restaurants etc.

  4. Why would they have previously raised straw just to burn it in the fields? Seems like the straw (or the alternative crop that occupied the land now devoted to supplying the straw-to-hot water facility) must have had some use prior to the hot water plant.
    If so, it would be curious to know whether that pre-existing land use and the related disposition of grown fiber or food, or both, resulted in most or all of the carbon embedded in that biomass being being sequestered, long term, out of the ambient biosphere. If so, the carbon neutrality of burning straw for heat goes out the window.
    Grow-and-sequester would seem like a superior use of biomass from a carbon perspective. It may be that they are moving from a grow-and-sequester land use framework for biomass into an extract-and-release-carbon land use framework.

  5. A support of nuclear power, do not have to lean against the CO2 threat.
    Modern nuclear power can manage on its own merits, see, for example the Indian GenIV starting next year.
    The first of 300 civil, Th232=> U233 to their thorium programs and burn the so-called waste “we” cal it in the U.S., Sweden and more countries.
    Safer and cheaper energy systems are not, we will not get rid of any argument to lean towards a CO2 threat that more and more realize is scientifically rejected.
    First of Lindzen and Choi, and most recently by Spencer and Brassel, a doubling of the levels gives 0.6 C which do not cause a global climate disaster.
    How can so many been so stupid that they believed that there are extreme enhancement effects of small temperature changes?
    Then would not life as we know it exist.
    View historical data:
    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html
    CO2 molecule has a strongly declining greenhouse effect and the alleged enhancement effects of small temperature changes in this case is considered debilitating.
    CO2 from 1958 to 2010 (from 314.69 to 389.60 ppm of Mauna Loa) gives the same effect as increasing the current to 500ppm. (use for example David Archers Modtranprogram, if some one not believe me: http://geoflop.uchicago.edu/forecast/docs/Projects/modtran.orig.html)
    The difference is same as the last 52 years (maybe some tenth of a C if we clear from other impacts).
    But mark that the average temperature is just too uneducated to measure in this regard, the case is amended to energy radiation from the surface.
    Then realized that the temperature differences must be measured.
    Two identical surfaces with + – 50C beams as both was 13C, not zero as climate Taliban seem to think.
    Have the forgot the T4-effect?
    Then the earth history of a normal temperature of 22C not like todays 14,5C, it has not been noticeably warmer or cooler equator near.
    Palms grew and was 20C in the summer Arctic seas and the Arctic continents before this more millions of years of ice age. (15% of todays continents have several miles thick ice)
    Further wins life in today’s deserts, which then turned into forests of the same thermostat H2O that even our bodies use.
    Humanity’s biggest problems is to be friends, if we can produce 5 times as much electrical power world wide I think we can create a peaceful Humanity.
    Yours sincerely Gunnar Littmarck

    1. @Gunnar – any idea where the ocean shorelines were at the time of palms and 20 C in the summer Arctic seas?
      How would many of today’s major cities look in such a world?
      For some odd reason, I tend to trust the prescience of people that wrote this paper 33 years ago worrying about the effects of large quantities of waste from burning coal and other hydrocarbons.
      http://nucleargreen.blogspot.com/2009/12/nuclear-energy-viable-alternative.html
      I certainly trust them more than folks like Linzen and Michaels.

      1. @Rod — For as brilliant as those gentlemen were, is it possible that they don’t know it all; that they didn’t have the means to measure certain effects of CO2 that we have now? Are Spencer and Christie equally as questionable in their trustworthiness as Lindzen and Michaels?

      2. “For some odd reason, I tend to trust the prescience of people that wrote this paper … more than folks like Linzen and Michaels.”
        Well, I’m glad that you have explained that things like advanced degrees in climatology, experience in meteorology and atmospheric physics, and chaired professorships at MIT mean nothing to you.
        You’d rather take the word of a bunch of amateurs from three decades ago, because they happen to agree with your personal world view.
        This is good to know.
        “any idea where the ocean shorelines were at the time of palms and 20 C in the summer Arctic seas? … How would many of today’s major cities look in such a world?”
        Can you please provide an estimate of approximately when you think that “today’s major cities” should expect such a world?
        Otherwise, I fail to see how either those climatic conditions or your question about them are relevant.

  6. What a great video showing how the environmental impact of modern life can be reduced. LCA is a tool that show good ways to accomplish it. Carl explained the reasons associate with food production. LCA also shows how to reduce environmental impact of making electricity with nuclear power. However, nuclear power is not very useful way to reduce smoke from burning wheat fields or treating manure.
    This is another example of Rod not knowing his sh**.

  7. Stepping down from my devil’s podium for a moment, the LCA I’ve been working on indicates that, were mainland Denmark powered by late-model PWRs burning either centrifugally-enriched Uranium or MOX, no combination of wind and solar would do anything but raise the island’s carbon footprint. As for biomass, it seems ideal farming practices shouldn’t generate excess in most cases (see Joel Salatin’s stuff on that… who, by the way, strikes me as an excellent bridge between the green and pro-nuke communities, since he is a sustainable farmer admired by greens yet is of typically more conservative cultural extraction).

  8. LCA shows that the primary benefit of biomass to energy is not energy but recovery of nutrients (N, P, & K). There are two reasons for thsi. Nutrients blowing away have a significant environmental impact. The second reason is that the environmental impact of producing nutrients is significant.
    Next time Rod is in Florida he should investigate phosphorous mining areas. Nobody complains because the benefit of eating is obvious.
    There is a interesting connection between phosphorous mining and the nuclear industry. Uranium is a by product of phosphorous mining. The are health physics issue with phosphorous mining.
    Many of the dairy farmers in the western US have last names that indicate ties to Denmark. There is nothing wrong with learning from Denmark either. It is a good way to avoid having to learn from the French or Germans.

    1. I’m not a horticulturist but my understanding is that burning, over time, basifies soil. I’m fairly confident it has no place in sustainable agriculture.

      1. Carl, I fire is part of the natural system. One of the environmental problems in the US semi-arid forest is the result of a misguided policy of fire suppression which results in more intense fires when they do occur.

  9. 4,000 people? A small farming community in the U.S. that lives near a bunch of wind turbines is probably in a similar situation. If only the wind energy could be stored then they would be energy independent. For millions of people nuclear is the clear choice. France is 60 million. That’s 15,000 times more people!

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