Tag Archives: energy

Why making a more efficient car does not work

Let’s say the oil company has 100m tonnes of fuel in reserve, and at present levels that 1m cars on the roads, for example, each use 100 tonnes of fuel. The car companies make a new “eco” car which only uses 80 tonnes of fuel instead. The government replaces all the cars with these new “clean cars. Now the cars only altogether 80m tonnes of fuel.

But the oil company is not complaining. Knowing that the car companies see the opportunity to sell more cars, they wait patiently. Lowering the price point is but still making a better profit they sell 1.25m of these “eco” cars instead.

Now, we are still using 100m tonnes of fuel and the roads get more crowded also. A bit of a #wtf moment.

Nuclear versus fossil fuel power

In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident Japan had gone quite literally all non-nuclear for a while. The country had switched off all of its nuclear power plants in what amounts to a knee-jerk reaction to the disaster that still is happening now and will for many more decades to come. In its place we turned back to using coal importing more than we ever had. And all of the sudden nobody in Japan cared much about climate change and global warming anymore.

The question should never have been about whether we choose nuclear or fossil fuel for our energy needs, but rather how we can reduce our energy usage in the first place. Whichever we choose to use we are still using too much energy for the good of the planet.

And now that the dust (or is that nuclear dust) has settled from Fukuyama we have turned on the nuclear tap again to quench our nuclear thirst.

Nothing ever changes, does it.

How to slow down the destruction of the planet

Today is the nine anniversary of Sustainability Dharma and me blogging. This post is in part a celebration of this event. I am not sure how many original followers I have left but thank you for reading. Let’s hope we can save our demise.

You have heard it before that we are comsuming more than the earth is renewing the resources. Industrialization is one reason for this. The efficiency with which a small number of individuals can produce a large amount of products is staggering. Think logging. Cutting down a tree took a lot more effort than it did a hundred ago. So when we say economical we don’t just mean efficiency by the end-user but also the producer. Now multply that by the staggering population we have now and you will understand nothing in this world is going to slow consumption except reduction per person and a reduction of the population.

Continue reading

A Battery With A Twenty Year Lifespan …

It is all very well to produce a battery that will last 20 years. But is not that useless if your equipment lasts only three, maybe four years maximum? It is like having a heart built to last five-hundred when the rest of your body breaks down in 100.

Ancient fuel

Friend: So, did you read the story about moss surviving on poo from 8,000 years ago?

Me: That’s nothing. Man has been surviving on dead things that’s 650 million years old!

How feasible is green energy?

According to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry the country’s energy from renewable sources accounted for only 1 percent of the total energy gneration in 2009. And that number has improved in much 2011 though efforts, verbally at least, have increased due to the Fukushima Incident.

Why is this so? Well, it takes area of 65 square kilometers of solar panels to generate the same amount power of one nuclear reactor. Now that is not efficient, is it? The same problem goes for wind power generation. And we have yet to talk about the cost here.

No, the aim for 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020 in Japan just seems near impossible though an accident of the size we had in Fukushima may well change that. One has to ask why must we wait for such things to happen before we act.

First Peace Declaration since the Fukushima Nuclear Accident

HIROSHIMA, 6th August  2011. From Kyodo News

The following is the full text of the Peace Declaration issued Saturday by Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui at a memorial ceremony to mark the 66th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Sixty-six years ago, despite the war, the people of Hiroshima were leading fairly normal lives. Until that fateful moment, many families were enjoying life together right here in what is now Peace Memorial Park and was then one of the city’s most prosperous districts. A man who was 13 at the time shares this: ”Aug. 5 was a Sunday, and for me, a second-year student in middle school, the first full day off in a very long time. I asked a good friend from school to come with me, and we went on down to the river. Forgetting all about the time, we stayed until twilight, swimming and playing on the sandy riverbed. That hot midsummer’s day was the last time I ever saw him.”

The next morning, Aug. 6 at 8:15, a single atomic bomb ripped those normal lives out by the roots. This description is from a woman who was sixteen at the time: ”My 40-kilogram body was blown 7 meters by the blast, and I was knocked out. When I came to, it was pitch black and utterly silent. In that soundless world, I thought I was the only one left. I was naked except for some rags around my hips. The skin on my left arm had peeled off in 5-centimeter strips that were all curled up. My right arm was sort of whitish. Putting my hands to my face, I found my right cheek quite rough while my left cheek was all slimy.”

Their community and lives ravaged by an atomic bomb, the survivors were stunned and injured, and yet, they did their best to help each other: ”Suddenly, I heard lots of voices crying and screaming, ‘Help!’ ‘Mommy, help!’ Turning to a voice nearby I said, ‘I’ll help you.’ I tried to move in that direction but my body was so heavy. I did manage to move enough to save one young child, but with no skin on my hands, I was unable to help any more…’I’m really sorry’…”

Such scenes were unfolding not just here where this park is but all over Hiroshima. Wanting to help but unable to do so — many also still live with the guilt of being their family’s sole survivor.

Based on their own experiences and carrying in their hearts the voices and feelings of those sacrificed to the bomb, the hibakusha called for a world without nuclear weapons as they struggled day by day to survive. In time, along with other Hiroshima residents, and with generous assistance from Japan and around the world, they managed to bring their city back to life.

Their average age is now over 77. Calling forth what remains of the strength that revived their city, they continue to pursue the lasting peace of a world free from nuclear weapons. Can we let it go at this? Absolutely not. The time has come for the rest of us to learn from all the hibakusha what they experienced and their desire for peace. Then, we must communicate what we learn to future generations and the rest of the world.

Through this Peace Declaration, I would like to communicate the hibakusha experience and desire for peace to each and every person on this planet. Hiroshima will pour everything we have into working, along with Nagasaki, to expand Mayors for Peace such that all cities, those places around the world where people gather, will strive together to eliminate nuclear weapons by 2020. Moreover, we want all countries, especially the nuclear-armed states, including the United States of America, which continues its subcritical nuclear testing and related experiments, to pursue enthusiastically a process that will abolish nuclear weapons. To that end, we plan to host an international conference that will bring the world’s policymakers to Hiroshima to discuss the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11 this year was so destructive it revived images of Hiroshima 66 years ago and still pains our hearts. Here in Hiroshima we sincerely pray for the souls of all who perished and strongly support the survivors, wishing them the quickest possible recovery.

The accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and the ongoing threat of radiation have generated tremendous anxiety among those in the affected areas and many others. The trust the Japanese people once had in nuclear power has been shattered. From the common admonition that ”nuclear energy and humankind cannot coexist,” some seek to abandon nuclear power altogether. Others advocate extremely strict control of nuclear power and increased utilization of renewable energy.

The Japanese government should humbly accept this reality, quickly review our energy policies, and institute concrete countermeasures to regain the understanding and trust of the people. In addition, with our hibakusha aging, we demand that the Japanese government promptly expand its ”black rain areas” and offer more comprehensive and caring assistance measures to all hibakusha regardless of their countries of residence.

Offering out heartfelt condolences to the souls of the A-bomb victims, reaffirming our conviction that ”the atomic bombing must never be repeated” and ”no one else should ever have to suffer like this,” we hereby pledge to do everything in our power to abolish nuclear weapons and build lasting world peace.