Nice to see that some things are still the same. Like, for example, that those elected to student office at the alma mater are still bonkers.
As a way of telling us that we\’re all doomed we get this:
There is a fundamental physical law of the universe – The First Law of Thermodynamics. It states:
“In any closed system, the total amount of energy of all kinds is a constant”
The Earth is a closed system. It receives energy from the Sun, and the Moon pulls the oceans across the globe to make the tides. Apart from these two, almost constant, energy inputs from the outside the Earth has no other external energy sources. Any other energy source we use has to come from the Earth itself… and these sources are running out.
It\’s a bit odd to insist that we\’re in fact a closed system and then insist that we\’re not because of the Sun, but still, we get what he means.
Expensive oil, renewables are not enough, no coal, no nukes… we’re in trouble!
Yes, and that starts in the next five to ten years when energy prices rocket – not in fifty years when oil is scarce.
It’s at this point that many participants begin to experience what could be described as metanoic shock. Old certainties don’t seem so certain any more. And the comfort of our Western lifestyle suddenly seems to represent a thin veneer over the twilight zone where cheap holidays and off-road vehicles are as fond a memory as steam trains.
… What’s heartening is that some people see this impending realignment of global energy quotas as a great opportunity. A chance to redefine the balance between humans and the planet in order to create a sustainable future…
Hmm. There\’s a bit of a leap of logic there. Just a little one.
Mostly thanks to the Sun, the world also has a renewable usable energy flux that exceeds 120 PW (8,000 times 2004 total usage), or 3.8 YJ/yr, dwarfing all non-renewable resources.
So, erm, in this sense of talking about energy supply and usage, it seems a little nonsensical to talk about the Earth in fact being a closed system. For we have being poured into the system, each and every year, some 8,000 times more energy than we currently use.
In fact, I\’d say it was barking mad to talk of the Earth being a closed system in such circumstances.
But then, as I say, it\’s comforting to see that some things at the Old School don\’t change.