Monday, January 16, 2017

Even emission-free, growth will burn our living space

Solar advocates like to say that the energy from the sun is plentiful and free. That's true. But what should we be doing with it? Is it dangerous? Could we burn ourselves? Is there a lab to test in?

Yes, we are in the lab, and have a big experiment already with concentrated sunlight. We have been burning old sunlight that was concentrated into coal, oil, and gas. We have increased the amount of heat on earth's surface, both land and water.

Fossil fuel has allowed us to become over 7 billion in number.  We have over 350ppm of gases in the air that are trapping more energy every day and will continue for a long time. We have a complex way of living that demands energy use to double about every 30 years. These three things generate heat faster than the earth's infrared radiation can dissipate it into space.

Even if we stop adding heat trapping gases to the air, our activities will turn incoming solar energy to heat, and yes, we will burn ourselves.

Said another way, even if we convert to emission-free energy, we will still cook the biosphere.

What to do? The sunlight coming in must be stored, not used in heat-generating activity. We must reduce our numbers. We must simplify our complexity.  

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