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Comments by Jim Baird Subscribe

On The Burning Question: Who is Up to the Climate Challenge?

Alistair, the latest study suggests unusually strong trade winds have pushed surface ocean heat into deeper water leading to the perceived atmospheric warming pause of the past fifteen years. We can replicate this effect with OTEC meaning we can obtain the energy we need at the same time as we effectively geoengineer our way to an inhabitable planet.

I hope to have a new post along this line shortly.

I have no problem with anyone reordering the list, it is just what came to my mind.

I agree completely we need to be talking outside this forum but it is one of the few availabe to me. It drives me crazy that my government - Canada - is about to pay some ad agency $22 million dollars to promote the "benefits" of oilsands abroad.For those of us without that kind of money but who nevertheless believe there is a silver bullet, failing to do everything in our power to get the word out is to do the technology and mankind a disservice.

February 13, 2014    View Comment    

On Climatologist: When Souped-Up Ocean Warming Ends, Global Temperatures Look Set To Rise Rapidly

This study ought to be the blueprint for addressing climate change. You can produce as much renewable energy as we currently derive from fossil fuels by moving surface heat into deep water with ocean thermal energy conversion. The coefficient of expansion of ocean water is half that of the tropical surface at a depth of 1000 meters and you would be sapping the power of tropical storms that move heat towards the poles. The oceans have a tremendous capacity to absorb this heat as to a depth of 2000 meters they have only warmed.09C in half a century and they are on average close to twice that depth. It seems to me if we do not learn from natural analogies like this our climate/energy efforts will be costly and ultimately feckless.

February 12, 2014    View Comment    

On Limits to Growth: At Our Doorstep, But not Recognized

The problem is the connection with debt.

Michael Hudson's video may be instructive in this regard.

"The oligarchs would rather annul the bottom 90 percent's right to live than to annual the debts that are due to them."

It wasn't always that way and need not necessarily be that way in future.

"If you owe the bank $100 that's your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that's the bank's problem," J. Paul Getty.

If a 100 million owe the bank a dollar and can't pay the bank is in no less difficulty.

February 7, 2014    View Comment    

On What Wood Smoke has Taught Me About Fighting Climate Change

Severin, research is the answer and Nature is providing the analogies as to how the climate problem can be beaten. It takes time however for new technologies to be cost competitive and a great deal of capital to make a dint in the market. The innovation "Valley of Death" is a chasm which market forces alone don't appear to be sufficient to bridge? 

February 4, 2014    View Comment    

On Germany's Energiewende Troubles Prove That Renewable Energy Has Failed. And Other Strange Ideas

Robert, Nature cannot be fooled but we are not paying attention to how she is reacting to climate change either.

From March 2010 to March 2011 NASA reports that sea levels declined by about 6 mm as water was transferred from the oceans to the land.

From 1998 to the present there was a perceived decline in the increase in recorded world temperatures compared to the 15 year period from 1990-2005, which was attributed mainly to an increase in uptake of heat by deeper ocean waters.

We can replicate both of these responses concurrently to producing significant quanties of renewable energy.

February 4, 2014    View Comment    

On A Forecast of Our Energy Future; Why Common Solutions Don’t Work

Rick, the last time it happened, parts of Canada turned to the Social Credit philosophy of  C. H. Douglas, whose policies were designed to disperse economic and political power to individuals. Oddly enough where this movement took strongest hold was in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, which today are betting it all on their fossil fuel reserves. Alberta went so far as to issue "Prosperity Certificates" to its citizens to try and get its economy moving but the Supreme Court of Canada squelched the move by claiming the federal government alone was authorized to issue currency.

Seems to me a climate currency would be difficult proposition to refute in the light of current circumstances.

February 4, 2014    View Comment    

On When Will the Obama Administration Possibly Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline?

John SAGD isn't any better considering the carbon emissions. I left Alberta in 79 for beautiful British Columbia to escape the petro lunacy but it turns out I didn't. Now they want to threaten our shoreline with spills and erosion from sea level rise and today they shut down our local ski hill due to lack of snow.

Not unrelated I think.

Believe me, more and more are becoming sick of this situation and a day of reckoning isn't that far off.

January 31, 2014    View Comment    

On When Will the Obama Administration Possibly Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline?

John, Canadians other options to placing their Oil Sands crudes into world markets face no less difficulties.

January 31, 2014    View Comment    

On A Forecast of Our Energy Future; Why Common Solutions Don’t Work

As we move on to the difficult to extract energy resources, best we look instead to the one that is accumulating in the ocean to great detrimental effect. That is also where you will find no end of scarce minierals in solution.

January 31, 2014    View Comment    

On The Silver Bullet Of Climate Change Policy

Robert as you say the efficiency does require about 20 times more heat transfered to the depths than energy created. This though I think is to OTEC's benefit considering it is surface heat that is driving storms and creating thermal expansion. At 1000 meters the coefficient of expansion of ocean water at 4C is half that of the surface.

The deep ocean also has tremendous capacity to absorb this heat. The study World ocean heat content and thermosteric sea level change (0 – 2000 m), 1955 – 2010 points out the total increase in heat content of the ocean over that period has only 0.09C. But if that heat were instantly transferred to the lower 10 km of the global atmosphere that volume would warm by approximately 36C.

As to methane hydrates they are found mostly in shallow waters on the continental shelf and thus are more likely to be impacted by surface heat than the movement of this heat away from where they occur.

As to the thermohaline, according to TAMU the Gulf Stream carries 40 Sv of 18°C water northward. Of this, 14 Sv return southward in the deep western boundary current at a temperature of 2°C. The flow carried by the conveyor belt must therefore lose 0.9 petawatts (1 petawatt = 1015 watt) in the north Atlantic north of 24°N.

To produce 15TW - about what we get from fossil fuels - you would move about 300 TW to the depths and most of this would occur in the Pacific, where the best conditions for OTEC and cyclones occur. I doubt therefore that the impact on this circulation would be significant.

Any problems however would become apparent long before we ever built out 15TWs worth of capacity.

As to cost, the heat pipe design reduces the size of the piping involved - the main driver for cost - from 15 meters for a 50MW unit down to 2 meters.

Thanks for your interest.



January 29, 2014    View Comment    

On The Silver Bullet Of Climate Change Policy

Gernot, I agree whole heartedly. For the sake of our grandchildren someone has to be and has to be seen doing well doing good for the planet.

For my money though OTEC is a silver bullet.

January 29, 2014    View Comment    

On Doing Well by Doing Good by the Planet

Cliff, I see the build up of heat in the ocean as as great a problem as the build up of CO2 in the atmosphere and for that reason I don't see current technologies being adequate to resolving the problem. They are half measures at best.

I also find it bizarre, we are taking nothing away from Nature's analogies.

January 28, 2014    View Comment