[ExI] global warming again.

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Thu Mar 19 19:22:45 UTC 2009

On Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 7:45 AM, Stefano Vaj <stefano.vaj at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 6:25 AM, John K Clark <jonkc at bellsouth.net> wrote:
>> 2) If in the future if it does cause problems we will have to deal with it
>> then because right now with our technology there is absolutely nothing we
>> can do about it. All the "solutions" I've seen are just gestures, multi
>> trillion gestures that would drive the world into poverty and make the money
>> lost in the sub prime mortgage crisis look like chump change. And still it
>> would just be a gesture.
> While as already mentioned I am a "possibilist" on GW, this is indeed
> a serious concern.
> For instance, doom-mongers usually warn us of the possible - and
> theoretically plausible - existence of a "tipping point", beyond which
> runaway positive-feedback loops would take over.

> Now, it seems bizarre that any serious discussion could not take into
> account that such a tipping point might already be behind us.

This isn't a majority opinion yet, but it certainly is being discussed
as possible, perhaps even probable among the concerned in the science

> Were it the case, I imagine that a case could be presented that we
> might be better off by burning fossil fuels like mad, as if there were
> literally no tomorrow, if this marginally increased (the available
> resources relevant to) our chances to get access in the near future to
> an large enough energy source (say, space-based solar energy, nuclear
> fusion, deep geothermy) to allow us to embark in serious remedial
> action.
> But even asking question on such aspects, which are normal in ordinary
> strategic thinking and risk assessment, are taken as blasphemy
> whenever GW is the subject at hand.

In my opinion concern over global warming doesn't hurt because the
solution to it (replacement for low cost fossil fuels) is the same we
have to do in any case.  Running out of low cost energy is a more
certain disaster, with the possibility of killing 6 out of 7 people by
the end of the century.

Space based solar provisionally looks like the best idea.  Going to
much higher exhaust velocity than you can get with chemical fuels for
the second stage seems to be one way to get the cost to GEO below
$100/kg.  That's low enough for penny a kWh electricity and synthetic
liquid fuels for a dollar a gallon, but it only works for a million
tonne per year traffic model.


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