Why renewables can’t save the planet Forget climate Apocalypse. There's 1 day ago   17:33

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Environmentalists have long promoted renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind farms to save the climate. But what about when those technologies destroy the environment? In this provocative talk, Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment” and energy expert, Michael Shellenberger explains why solar and wind farms require so much land for mining and energy production, and an alternative path to saving both the climate and the natural environment. Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine Hero of the Environment and President of Environmental Progress, a research and policy organization. A lifelong environmentalist, Michael changed his mind about nuclear energy and has helped save enough nuclear reactors to prevent an increase in carbon emissions equivalent to adding more than 10 million cars to the road. He lives in Berkeley, California. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx
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Whacked gaming
Watching this while a person on twitter tries to convince me that if we put solar panels on every house in Canada we wont need Coal or gas for power. To bad we are in Canada 5-7 months of winter, snow, clouds some days only 2-5 hours of sun what from my reading is not enough to power a house threw the night. Then cloudy day's you get no sun what i guess means no power for anyone in that area? I like the idea of getting off coal so I say go nuclear.
Tumbleweed
Interesting thesis, however this seems to be a classic problem of bias in the sample collection (aka (mistaking the woods for the trees"). It's not the source of energy we consume which is the problem (solar, nuclear, coal, etc), it's the infrastructure we use to transport the products to consumers. Thought experiment: what about the millions who have died from electrical shock? Also whatabout about "less energy consumption"? Devices which are made for longevity and less energy consumption (devices which charge themselves)? In short, it is the balance of ecosystem which our science still does not explain. We've not the maths by which to model nature (we can't even model the algorithms of waves, yet!)? Let's be careful about science making declarative political statements by individuals. Decisions are better made via elimination, not selection (do no harm). Less action, more of nature taking its course.
pterodactylman
As the human population increases so does the need for electricity. Without there being any kind of population control the demand for electricity will never stabilize or decrease.
Ian Gross
He does not talk about what happens to the uranium waste. Nobody knows what to do with it, so they just put it inside huge concrete bins, and wait until someone finds a way to deal with it.
Sh Br
Fukushima and Chernobyl.....enough said. Next.
TheHeraldu
(((Shellenberger))). Nice try bro
Dillon Webbe
Balance. That's what is required. All forms of energy have their place. Selectively picking a few examples here and there to strengthen your point is misleading at best. Identifying the problems with solar and wind is a good thing so that we know how to work around them. The same can be said of nuclear energy (go ask Japan).
kenneth hickford
Climate ChangeAug 22, 2017
A Thorium-Salt Reactor Has Fired Up for the First Time in Four Decades
Cooling tower from the Satsop nuclear plant in Washington

The road to cleaner, meltdown-proof nuclear power has taken a big step forward. Researchers at NRG, a Dutch nuclear materials firm, have begun the first tests of nuclear fission using thorium salts since experiments ended at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the early 1970s.
Tony Wilson
Like Ozzy below I am also an engineer and everyone of you should read what he has to say.
There really is more to renewables than proponents say.

There is also a huge flaw in what the other side says and it has to do with time.
Coal fired power stations are complex, high maintenance and take year s to build. Nuclear is all of those multiplied.
I am from Australia where we have more coal than Japan, China, India and the rest pf Asia can consume in the next 50 years.


But in Australia because we have had this stalemate over power we haven't built anything for over 20 years. The last major power station on the east coast of Australia where 80% of our population live was commissioned in 1999. Our population went through 20million in 2003 and is now over 25million. So we have a power system built for 20 million with 25 million living off it and its old.


What I like about Michael is that he is raising questions we need to discuss and answer.
What I don't like is that he is not being honest about his information.
For instance he likes to show that photo of the room with all of Switzerland's waste, but he never mentions places like San Onofre where there is 1700 tons of spent fuel rods in a pool under the old reactor while they discuss what they might do with it.

We need full complete discussions not partial discussions.


The developed world needs to rebuild and the developing world needs to build and no one can afford to repeat the mistakes of the last 50 years.
FoltzwithBoltz
I am not a fan of this speech. He speaks only of the very weak negative points that solar and wind power provide but purposefully leaves out any serious negative points to what nuclear power dependency would look like for humanity. The whole point of "clean" energy means that there is no byproduct to throw into the environment. Sure, nuclear plants generate a large density of power in a short amount of time, but you also have radioactive waste to deal with. Plus, his point about birds and bats dying seems unimportant to how renewables are unable to save the planet.
Ozzy R
Great talk!
I work in the power industry and from the production side of the equation solar and wind are not reliable as he mentioned. When the wind changes or sunlight changes rapidly from cloud coverage the energy production changes quickly. With that change also comes a change in grid frequency and voltage. This change has to be compensated by coal and natural gas generating unit. Rapid changes in load lead to inefficiency thus making energy production less efficient. Couple these changes with changes in system load and it just makes keeping system frequency stable very hard. The North American Energy Reliability Corporation (NERC) has standards for frequency that all electric generators must maintain, solar and wind has made this harder than usual.
Now, companies are having to install battery banks at solar farms to stabilize the swings in generation. This all at a cost to the consumer.
So down the road when all these solar panels and batteries reach the end of their life cycle they will contribute to our current problems with e-waste.
There is more to renewables than meets the eye. It all sounds good but we need to look at long term and renewables cannot keep up with the growing demand. Nuclear is our current best option.
frédéric Flore
I'm asking for a long time what are we gonna do with these insane amount of solar panels in 30 or 40 years ? Can we recycle them ? What are we gonna do with all these wind turbine propeller ? Much of them are not recyclable... Think sometimes in the hurry of "saving the planet" we're doing some wrong choices.
Enter a name here
Okay, so does this guy ever come up with an idea how to get rid of nuclear waste? Ahhh, who cares, sooner or later we might find a solution to that.
Dori Ron
An interesting point of view which does not touch the underlying issue; the demand for power which just keep rising.
"changing the climate" is not separate from saving and restoring ecosystems.
Humanity needs to change the way society is structured, they way food is produced and its reliance on energy. Otherwise no amount of renewable or nuclear power would make a difference...
johnnypk1963
Nuclear is not safe. The graph showing nuclear power safety is from 2007. A bit old don’t u think? Ppl died from the fallout of the accident at TMI in Middletown PA 1979. A large swath of cancer deaths in that PA valley. Not to mention Chernobyl and now Fukushima constantly polluting the Pacific Ocean.
Martin Burston
Such a great talk. The full lifecycle cost of renewables often gets overlooked but yes of course, the materials for solar panels and batteries must be mined in great quantities and there must be a solid plan for recycling units at the end of their lives. It often seems that nuclear is criticized disproportionately for its waste while more politically palatable alternatives are given a free pass.
ProfSai
9:02: It seems that this guy has never heard of Chernobyl! Every nuclear design is "perfectly safe" until it gets built.
Yari Kizilirmak
what about nicola teslas zero point energy
Joe Stanley
"If you think the economy is more important than the environment, try holding your breath while counting your money." --Guy McPherson
antonio sheedy
My grandfather said to me , if we are serious about saving the planet, first get rid of man and nature will do the rest.
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Forget climate Apocalypse. There's Why renewables can’t save the planet 1 day ago   13:22

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In the media’s version of climate change, the end is always nigh. But equating global warming with the apocalypse is wrong. In his talk, journalist Jelmer Mommers brings you the real story. The truth is more human and hopeful than fiction, because millions of people are working to end the era of fossil fuels, along with the violence and inequality that have accompanied this era from the beginning.

Correction 7 november 2016: there's an error in the slide titled ‘The top 10% of consumers emit half of the worlds carbon’. It mistakenly divides consumers in eleven groups of ten percent. The bar on the left is redundant. Data credit: Chancel & Piketty, 2015.

Jelmer Mommers is an investigative journalist specialized in the field of climate change and energy for the Dutch journalism platform ‘The Correspondent’. He focuses on the intersection between sustainability, culture, politics and economics.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

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