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 & SUPPLY – continuing global demands for energy and growth of renewable and non-renewable sources; Energy, Money & Technology – 90 min lecture by Nate Hagens; Energy graphs from the international energy agency (IEA) re: managing and maintaining energy supplies; Masdar City – sustainable cities; Live Monitoring of UK electricity grid – showing sources of supply; Energy vs. Climate Dominance(NYT, Dec 2018); Cheap oil hastens climate change;
RENEWABLES – Declining costs of renewable energy; Scotland & Swedish wind energy advances; Energy from evaporating water – yet unproven source of electrical energy. Biofuel for air transport – calculations; Fossil fuel subsidies – criticism; “Our Renewable Future” – Richard Heinberg on continuing fossil fuel use vs. low carbon energy supplies; Hydro-energy not so sustainable?; Hydrogen power; Exponential Growth of solar photo voltaic (PV) power – Nov 2018 good news at last?
DRAWDOWN ON FOSSIL FUELS- Understanding Peak Oil; V. Smil: Energy & Civilisation; R.Heinberg (podcast) Getting Off Fossil Fuels; US Oil Depletion; Oil depletion; Tracking the demise of fossil fuel industries – Sept 2017;COP 23 – coal phase out pledges; Peat – ignored polluter & CO2 sequester; Samuel Alexander – Carbon Civilisation and the Energy Descent Future