Sunday, March 23, 2008

Stupid Free

On Friday, I spent part of the afternoon with Arjun Makhijani. He is author of Carbon Free and Nuclear Free, A Roadmap of US energy Policy. Arjun is President of the Institute for Energy Environmental Research . And, he’s been around for a long time, going back to S. David Freeman’s days at the TVA.

According to his web site blurb:

The United States can become a global leader against climate change by phasing out nearly all carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2050. Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy demonstrates how the U.S. can eliminate the use of fossil fuels without sacrificing economic growth or building more nuclear power plants.

Among the book's recommendations:

Enact a physical limit on carbon dioxide emissions (a "hard cap") for large users of fossil fuels that steadily declines to zero;

Eliminate all subsidies and tax breaks for fossil fuels, nuclear power and biofuels from food crops;

Build demonstration energy supply plants including solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, and carbon dioxide capture in microalgae for liquid fuel production;

Leverage government purchasing power to create markets for advanced technologies such as plug-in hybrid vehicles;

Ban new coal-fired plants unless they include reliable carbon capture and storage;

Create and enforce stringent efficiency standards for appliances, transportation and buildings.

These approaches are all technologically feasible, economically viable and environmentally benign," Dr. Makhijani explained. "Nuclear power, on the other hand, entails risks of proliferation, terrorism and serious accidents."

The analysis in Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free shows that a reliable electricity grid can be created entirely from renewable energy sources, despite the intermittency of wind and solar energy. "First of all, wind and solar development should be coordinated, since wind often predominates at night and solar, is, by definition, in the daytime,"

"Then, hydropower resources can be used when neither is available, complemented by natural gas standby."

As we chatted, not having read the book, I realized that Arjun was as well versed in the problems we face and the solutions we must adopt as anyone I know. And it became apparent that we share a great deal in our world views.

I shared my vision of a solid state energy grid,( the unified photonic energy web), speaking about advanced nanomaterials and other strategies. We talked about EESTOR and whether or not they would be able to achieve their stated goals in energy storage.

Seeing that I had a willing, listening mind after these first mental sorties, I sent in the ground troops. “We will need to change everything”, I confided. "These lights will be replaced by OLEDs and other reverse power paints. These walls and our clothes will suck the energy from our bodies, thus revolutionizing the need to provide large amounts of cooling."

Our cars and transportation system in general must be unified with the stationary electric sector. We will imbed inductive charging plates in the roads and parking lots and charge cars in moments while they sit at the red light or during dinner.

I talked about how we must create a new world that is beyond fire. That the fuel in our gas tank must become as relevant to us tomorrow as hay in the barn is today.

I even touched on the notion that our consumer society must be replaced by a greatly improved economic model that does not require the mass consumption of resources or embrace the massive investment of human energy that we presently accept as good, sane socioeconomic architecture.... That we must flip the current model from consumers and corporations to providers and cooperations.

As I escorted him to meet his ride, a sense of understanding seemed to prevail in our dyadic universe. We both knew that we both knew.

Today, I came across this piece from the Daily Mail on the views of James Lovelock, the scientist who popularized the notion that earth is a living organism.

“According to the climate change scientist James Lovelock, this is the beginning of the end of a peaceful phase in evolution.

By 2040, the world population of more than six billion will have been culled by floods, drought and famine.

Lovelock has been proclaiming his Gaia Theory for a generation. It states that the Earth is a living, self-regulating system and that by filling its atmosphere with carbon we have destroyed the balance and overheated the planet. We are in the phase when the thermometer suddenly shoots up.

On this day when much of the world recognizes the miracle of the resurrection, I would rather believe that we are entering the phase where humanity’s intelligence and compassion suddenly shoots up.

Where we not only become Carbon Free, and Nuclear Free,

We recognize the need for another truly marvelous miracle.

And we become Stupid Free.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get the photo. It looks like a flood, over London, maybe.
Where did it come from?

3:06 PM  
Blogger oZ said...

FM, yes its London. It was pulled from the Lovelock story.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Please take a look at

where I outline a systems approach to getting individuals to cooperate in solving the problem. Also take a look at my comments in a blog at

where I put up our proposal and answered some questions.

Be very happy to answer any questions you may have

Kevin Cox

12:21 AM  
Blogger oZ said...

Thanks Kevin, I too agree that carbon should be priced into the cost of energy.

Unfortunately I suspect that we will have watch carbon trading fail first.

7:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great! I think I'll print out the list and keep it in front of me. MW

7:03 AM  

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