We cannot revert to timber fuel, for ‘nearly the entire surface of our island would be required to grow timber sufficient for the consumption of the iron manufacture alone.’
The internal heat of the earth … presents an immense store of force, but, being manifested only in the hot-spring, the volcano, or the warm mine, it is evidently not available. (Jevons, below)
W. S. Jevons in his early day recognized a central problem of windpower for powering machinery–intermittency. The wind does not always blow, and it cannot be known when this will occur, making an even flow of power (as from conventional sources) impossible short of cost-prohibitive battery backup.
What about the other renewables of the day: water power, biomass, and geothermal? And what 19th century wisdom applies to the Green New Deal of the 21st?…
“The first great requisite of motive power is, that it shall be wholly at our command, to be exerted when, and where, and in what degree we desire. The wind, for instance, as a direct motive power, is wholly inapplicable to a system of machine labour, for during a calm season the whole business of the country would be thrown out of gear.”
The most important book written on energy economics was the first: William Stanley Jevons’s The Coal Question (London: Macmillan and Company, 1865, rev. 1866). This classic is available in its entirety on the Internet.
Jevons’s remarkably sophisticated treatment of energy sustainability remains pertinent today. In a real sense, the Biden approach to energy was refuted by the insight of W. S. Jevons more than 150 years ago.…
“There has to be a lot of shrillness taken out of our language. In the environmental community, we have to be more humble. We can’t take the attitude that we have all the answers.” – Fred Krupp (EDF), 2011.
Thirty something years apace, what can anti-CO2 activists claim for their efforts? Answer: not much, except for an incalculable amount of resources wasted to travel and politick around the globe.
Consider this bottom line. In 1988, the year the global warming alarm started, the global market share of carbon-based energies was 88 percent. Today, it is just a bit diminished at 85 percent. Total usage of natural gas, coal, and oil in this period increased by two-thirds, with CO2 emissions rising 61 percent. Fossil fuels–dense, mineral energies–rock!
With this in mid, consider the article below from Greenwire (E&E News), dated April 5, 2011, by Colin Sullivan.…