Our use of Carbon-based fuels has Hidden Costs
We need the Polywell as a viable carbon-free energy source. Otherwise, if we continue to use carbon fuels, there will be serious consequences for all of us....
#1 Oil Exporter Saudi Arabia has funded terrorists (Al Qaeda!) since before 9-11
#4 Oil Exporter Iran has threatened Israel with nuclear annihilation for 5 years
#8 Oil Exporter Venezuela hates US, supports Columbian rebels and Iran
In 1956, M. King Hubbert told a meeting of the American Petroleum Institute that the crude oil (petroleum) production of the United States would reach its peak, and start to go downhill in 1970. This is exactly what happened. (See US oil production graph right.) Changes in production for all carbon fuels turns out to be very predictable.
See graphs of Texas oil and gas production below.
The changes in production for all carbon fuels turn out to be very predictable for regions of any size: oil production graphs for the past and into the future for the US and other regions such as the North Sea, Saudi Arabia, and Russia are shown left. Every region except Russia has already reached its peak. The red graphline represents the whole planet on a different scale. A second planet-wide graph is shown right. The Hubbert prediction is shown in blue, reported production is green, and actual consumption is brown. Clearly, the world oil production has reached its peak, and is headed back down. What will we do when the oil is gone? If we wait until that happens, it will definitely be too late.
These environmental catastrophes in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, separated by twenty-one years, are only two of more than 25 disastrous oil spills during that time, totalling nearly 1 billion gallons of spilled oil.
Smog is air pollution from the burning carbon-based fuels. The World Health Organization estimates that air pollution kills 2.4 million people each year. Oil refineries such a the BP oil refinery in Texas City, Texas (above right) emit hundreds of millions of liters of cancer-causing gases such as benzene each year.
Black Lung Disease kills more than 1000 coal miners every year. Since 1900, more than 2000 coal miners have been killed in 20 different coal mine disasters.
Coal-fired power plants cause acid rain and mercury pollution. The acid rain kills lakes, and forests; and dissolves treasured monuments and antiquities. The mercury travels from the power plant stacks through ecosystem pathways to pregnant women. Each year, 60,000 babies in the US alone, are at risk for adverse neurological development due to exposure to methyl mercury in the womb.
Today, so-called "Clean Coal" is made by washing the coal before it is burned. The material that is washed from the coal(sludge) is kept in holding ponds (above left). It leaks into the ground water and destroys water supplies; and sometimes the dams on the holding ponds break, and sludge from the "clean coal" floods the countryside.
The tops of the Appalachian Mountains are removed (above left) and pushed into adjacent valleys to expose the coal seams and also ruin the valley biomes, water supplies, and entire lives of neighboring communities. When underground coal mines cave-in, the surface above often collapses into a sinkhole. Sinkholes cause random local destruction wherever underground mining has happened throughout the United States, China, and in many other parts of the world.
Extraction of oil from the Alberta Tar Sands will destroy an area of Canadian Boreal Forest the size of Florida. The extraction requires three liters of water per liter of oil produced; and it requires vast amounts of natural gas and coal, accounting for the single largest increase in greenhouse gas emissions in Canada; causing Canada to abandon its committment to the Kyoto protocol.
In the process of hydraulic fracturing (fraking), oil and gas companies have injected hundreds of millions of gallons of hazardous or carcinogenic chemicals into wells in more than 13 states. Hydraulic fracturing has resulted in significant increases of radioactive material including radium and carcinogens including benzene in major rivers and watersheds. For example, at one site the amount of benzene discharged into the Allegheny River after treatment was 28 times accepted levels for drinking water. Fracking has seriously contaminated shallow groundwater supplies in northeast Pennsylvania and in other locations with flammable methane, causing homes to explode there and in Ohio. And natural gas extracted by hydraulic fracturing may contribute as much to global warming as coal, or more so.
Carbon dioxide emissions from burning carbon-based fuels have been increasing since before 1850 (above left). Measured atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased steadily since before 1960 (above center). Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is transparent to incoming sunlight (which heats the earth); but the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is opaque to infra-red heat emitted from the earth (above right). So increasing carbon dioxide increases the earth's retention of heat.
Glaciers are mostly retreating all over the world (for example the Grinnel glacier in 1938 above left, and in 2006 above center). Greenland is melting (above right) and the meltwater is lubricating the base of its icecap, which is now sliding into the sea.