the Sun

Spaceship Earth and its web of life is powered by energy from the Sun, a hydrogen/helium nuclear fusion furnace some 15000000 kilometres distant. The energy of this sunlight supports almost all life  on Earth by photosynthesis,  and drives Earth’s climate and weather.  Currently vast amounts of energy in the form of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) is being used to transform the spaceship for the evident benefit of this generation of passengers. Unfortunately the release of this stored energy from organic material deposited under the ground millions of years ago has led to anthropogenic climate disruption and warming of the entire planet. Thus one species in the web of life is now augmenting the Sun’s control of the climate by releasing from the Earth’s crust (lithosphere) what the Sun formerly created.  Exponentially growing use of fossil fuels means that they will be used up in a  matter of decades, but the IPCC report (October 2014) warns that if their unabated use continues, global warming will result in catastrophic consequences. Nuclear energy derives from uranium which is also a non-renewable resource. Storing its waste is problematic and the Sellafield, Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents have led many to doubt its long-term safety.

Future energy demands – based on a report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy that projects the continuing global demands for energy and the relative growth of renewable and non-renewable sources.

Slide show of energy graphs from the international energy agency (IEA) about the challenges of managing and maintaining energy supplies on overcrowded Spaceship Earth.

Wide-ranging overview of “Our Renewable Future” – Richard Heinberg surveys the contrasting prospects of continuing fossil fuel use as opposed to the expansion of low carbon energy supplies.

Good news on renewable energy – October 2016 China is way ahead in creating capacity. Masdar City illustrates  efforts to create sustainable cities.  Trump’s support for coal ignores declining costs of renewable energy. – Scotland & Swedish wind energy advances

Fossil fuel subsidies – details of the criticism and the extent of the subsidies. George Monbiot in this article, details the contradiction between governments’ commitment to the Paris Climate Summit deal and their support for future fossil fuel extraction.

Tracking the demise of fossil fuel industries – a  Sept 2017 slide show that shows progress in limiting the use of fossil fuels.

Energy from evaporating water – New Scientist article of another technofix but yet unnproven source of electrical energy.

Biofuel for air transport – calculations relating to production & demand

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