Sep 5Liked by Sam Matey

A very good post featuring one of the substack authors I follow, who (I didn't know) shares a liking for Lois McMaster Bujold stories. He seems to share my view that the principle action should be building a sufficient abundance of clean energy, that relying on concerned people to change their lifestyles just won't do it. (We wouldn't tell people invaders rolling down their streets aren't real because they are calling for nationwide, professionally led responses rather than engaging in ineffective personal sacrifices.)

When all our primary energy is zero emissions then everything we do with it will have very low emissions - even extravagant wastefulness by people who don't care.

re Hydrogen, water vapor and greenhouse implications - seems clear that humans adding water vapor isn't causing global warming or else burning fossil fuels would have to be counted as a major source, from water content in coal, water as a combustion product of gas and oil (a regular car makes as much water vapor as an equivalent Hydrogen one), from power plant cooling towers and ponds and from the use of irrigation. But leaked Hydrogen significantly affects the breakdown of atmospheric methane, making it persist longer, so there is some global warming from Hydrogen use. Boiling off some to keep storage temperatures down for transport therefore doesn't sound wise.

I do think Hydrogen best suits on-site industrial uses rather than as a transportable and/or transport fuel. On-site production and lower pressure storage seems to sidestep the difficulties that extreme pressure storage for transport impose. Not convinced it will work as a long term energy storage option for power plants - which may start as converted gas burners but, longer term, will work better with fuel cells - but would be pleased to be wrong. More district heating schemes, using borehole geothermal, seems a very efficient seasonal energy store and reduces a significant source of demand in cold Winter situations. My understanding is large buildings using borehole geothermal actually end up overheating the ground mass across multiple years if cooling isn't included.

Australian, not American here, but I don't know that treating China as some kind of implacable enemy with which compromise isn't possible is the best approach and may be inclined to become a self fulfilling prophecy. Actual warfare seems to be a negative sum game for everyone, bystanders too. One thing to take military action against 3rd world nations for whom the USA is beyond reach but China? I am not really well informed enough to have insights or answers. But has anyone? I don't think China's growing economic and military power is something that outsiders can prevent - it isn't like it lacks economic demand of it's own to sustain it and it's contributions to science and R&D are becoming impressive. Preventing and suppressing that doesn't look like a step forward when global cooperation is so clearly essential.

The end of Doubt, Deny, Delay politics - which has no redeeming features - seems essential to achieving the most we are capable of. As long as it persists as a populist alternative to facing up to difficult reality head on we will struggle.

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