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I have no problem with fracking or with using methane. I do have a problem with the renewable portfolio mandates that require wind and solar to be installed. They must be backed up with natural gas turbines since nothing else, currently, spins up fast enough to keep the power flowing smoothly to homes and factories. A wind turbine is a lost leader for Natural Gas. I do oppose using Natural gas to avoid building Nuclear Power plants for electricity, or for Process Heat. Long term, Nuclear power is much much cheaper than natural gas. Natural gas is excellent for fertilizer, transportation, chemical stock, but is a poor long term base load electricity producer.
The sad part about this is the real way to reduce fertility is to make a family wealthy. The more wealthy a family and society are the fewer children they have. This was documented by Adam Smith in "The Wealth of Nations" back in 1776. It has been shown true today. Most wealthy nations are in a declining population - such as Korea or Japan or even the USA (apart from immigration). Providing more energy such as Nuclear power to third world nations will enable them to reduce poverty. The basic inputs to an economy are energy and creativity. The basic drags on a economy are corruption and quickly changing laws. Want population to decline? Give people lots of energy (nuclear), freedom, and consistent transparent laws. The population will decline. By the way, actual projections have the world topping out at 9 billion and then declining about mid century.
CS Lewis, "That Hideous Strength"
I totally agree, and the mandatory sentences should reflect those four priorities. We do have far too many people in Jail and there are much better ways to deal with this. The Judges do need some flexibility but the legislators need to give a wider range of "mandatory" sentences that are NOT all incarceration.
This is why we need to start thinking about synfuel using Nuclear heat for the process heat. With the price of fuel as high as it is today synfuels can be produced economically if you have an easy source of carbon - say coal…. and an abundant source of high temperature heat - say Nuclear.
It is practically unlimited. There is enough Uranium to last for thousands of years when you use sea water recovery to burn the easy part (U235). If you burn U238 (wet log) there is enough to last for 10's of thousands of years. If you use Thorium (wet log) you have enough to last until the Sun burns out. We will NOT run out of Nuclear fuel in an ordinary fission reaction.
If you look up a report by Captain Kiefer called 21st century snake oil, you will see that the major reason to NOT use bio fuels is that most of the plant energy comes from natural gas. 40 % of Natural gas use is to make fertilizers which increase crop yields dramatically. To then plant the crops (with fuel), fertilize them with (with natural gas) and harvest them (with fuel) and then turn them into fuel is immoral. It is much better to simply burn the natural gas directly as vehicle fuel. Something that Farmers have known how to do since I was a child, and which is done today all over asia.
Expensive energy is a policy goal of many governments. Expensive energy is also a goal of many fossil fuel companies. It is much more profitable to sell the same product for a higher price in the case of a bidding war. This is why we use auctions. As long as fuel is sold on the global market we are all subject to the same costs - unless there is some type of government subsidy. Increasing the supply in the USA will not lower the price - simply rearrange where the profits are realized. This will be true unless there is a sustained 9 million barrels / day increase. Constraining the supply of a commodity is a known historically used way to drive up the price.
I agree with FederalFarmer, we have reached peak oil which is why we have sustained prices above 100 / barrel. If oil has not peaked then the increase in supply should drive down the prices to below 80 / barrel and they should keep falling to below 50 / barrel. If the prices stay about 100, we have peaked and are on a high plateau. The only true source of massively increase in the amount of energy available is Nuclear power. Uranium, Plutonium and Thorium have 1 million times the energy per pound of any fossil fuel. The fact of the matter is that we have about 3 billion people who are wanting to move from deep poverty to at least some level of energy use. We need a massive new supply of energy. Check out http://terrestrialenergy.com
How much protection do we need? Is the world more dangerous now with information flow than it was before the internet? In the sense that it is easier to coordinate strikes and make plans using the communications infrastructure and information on weapons and explosives available widely on the internet. But are these dangers more than the dangers of simply living 50 years ago? I don't think we will be actually safer if the government knows more about us. It is simply that the danger is shifting from threats external to the USA to the government itself. Is safety worth the cost of freedom? I don't think so.
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