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A Rational Look at the "Settled Science"

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Only if and when it is economical to do so. Serious harm is outweighed by the serious benefit(s). Motor vehicles do serious harm to people around the world, but millions more are manufactured each year.

The same plants and same people could be manufacturing electric and other virtually zero emission vehicles. The change would be incredibly quick if the public stopped subsidizing hydrocarbons.

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If you want to replace them we need something that provides the same benefits at the same cost. So far we have no alternatives.

We have alternatives and as has been discussed, the cost of fossil fuels are actually very much higher than listed thanks to the subsidies. If we stopped subsidizing the stuff that is killing us and the planet and subsidized the stuff that is far safer and healthier we'd all be much better off. Already, more Canadians have green energy jobs than are employed in the tar sands. It's not like jobs or money or energy disappears if we switch, we just have fewer health and environmental problems.

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We have alternatives and as has been discussed, the cost of fossil fuels are actually very much higher than listed thanks to the subsidies.

This is tedious. There are NO significant subsidies for fossil fuels in developed countries. If you disagree prove it by providing a detailed accounting of these so-called subsidies (i.e. don't give me irrelevant quotes from a Greenpeace press release). I am pretty sure you can't do this because every attempt that I have read is either looking at subsidies in *developing countries* or dishonestly calls normal business tax deductions a 'subsidy'.

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This is tedious. As discussed fossil fuels receive more than direct subsidies. They add to the public tab by increasing our healthcare, military and environmental costs. These indirect subsidies, when combined with the direct total $1.9 Trillion globally, every year. The link has been provided more than once.

Whether we're handing billions directly to companies or spending the same billions treating the resulting respiratory illnesses, fighting the effects of acid rain, cleaning contaminated lakes and streams, dealing with the poisoned and declining fish stocks, rehabilitating environments after spills or fighting wars to secure supply; public costs are public costs. Pretending these costs don't exist doesn't make them go away.

When all costs are considered, hydrocarbons based energy is simply too expensive. They are a dirty, dangerous drain on society, that's killing people, the planet and limiting the prosperity of our children and grandchildren.

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As discussed fossil fuels receive more than direct subsidies. They add to the public tab by increasing our healthcare, military and environmental costs.

These are not quantifiable costs. They certainly do not represent cash that can be freed to to spend on other sources of power. At best they are sunk costs.

These indirect subsidies, when combined with the direct total $1.9 Trillion globally, every year. The link has been provided more than once.

Fabricating numbers with no connection to reality does not support your argument.

When all costs are considered, hydrocarbons based energy is simply too expensive. They are a dirty, dangerous drain on society, that's killing people, the planet and limiting the prosperity of our children and grandchildren.

Why do you keep ignore all of the lives SAVED by fossil fuels? If you are going to fabricate costs by including nonsense like that then you need to include the benefits as well.

Found this quote from Jim Hansen on renewables:

Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.

There are very few things that Hansen says that I agree with but he shows uncommon good sense when it comes to this issue. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/jim-hansen-presses-the-climate-case-for-nuclear-energy/

As I said before: if you don't like fossil fuels we have nuclear. If you don't like nuclear then you better learn to live with fossil fuels. There are no other choices on the table.

Edited by TimG

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There are very few things that Hansen says that I agree with but he shows uncommon good sense when it comes to this issue. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/jim-hansen-presses-the-climate-case-for-nuclear-energy/

As I said before: if you don't like fossil fuels we have nuclear. If you don't like nuclear then you better learn to live with fossil fuels. There are no other choices on the table.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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As I said before: if you don't like fossil fuels we have nuclear. If you don't like nuclear then you better learn to live with fossil fuels. There are no other choices on the table.

Thorium looks incredibly promising. Why are we not looking into this more. In places like Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan this could be a game changer for our carbon emissions. Especially the prairies were we are still rocking something like 70% coal power over here. And the useless carbon capture projects i worked on at boundary damn could have been invested into nuclear, over a billion wasted. We have tons of empty space out here where a plant could go. We have something like 16% of the worlds unmined Uranium in Saskatchewan and it hasn't really ever been mentioned as an energy source here.

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Thorium looks incredibly promising. Why are we not looking into this more.

I looked into this in more detail because it sounded like it was so much better than uranium reactors. As far as I can tell the radiation risks do not go away with thorium but because it is completely different process it would require the development of new technologies and new safety regimes. In places like the US, Canada and Europe where uranium based regulatory regimes are well established it is hard to justify the huge cost of developing a new regime based on untested technology. IOW, the hypothetical risks from a uranium reactor may be larger but since we have 50+ years experience building a regulating uranium reactors they are, from a pragmatic perspective, safer than a new thorium reactor.

For now it will be up to the Indians to perfect the process since they have loads of thorium and a desire to develop a home grown nuclear industry from scratch. Their efforts will likely provide the field experience which will allow thorium to compete with uranium in countries that already have an established nuclear industry.

Edited by TimG

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I looked into this in more detail because it sounded like it was so much better than uranium reactors. As far as I can tell the radiation risks do not go away with thorium but because it is completely different process it would require the development of new technologies and new safety regimes. In places like the US, Canada and Europe where uranium based regulatory regimes are well established it is hard to justify the huge cost of developing a new regime based on untested technology. i.e. the hypothetical risks from a uranium reactor may be larger but since we have 50+ years experience building a regulating uranium reactors they are, from a practical perspective, safer than a new thorium reactor.

Apparently the CANDU reactors of Atomic Energy Canada Limited are 100% capable of using thorium. All power reactors built in Canada are of the CANDU type. Though it's never been done. CANDU-type units are also operating in India, Pakistan, Argentina, South Korea, Romania and China.

CANDU reactors are being considered as heat and electricity sources for the energy-intensive oil sands extraction process, which currently uses mostly natural gas, mined close by. This would greatly reduce our emissions and put us within our initial targets. Though the Alberta government keeps putting it off for some reason. Currently it's not really on the docket until 2017.

We have the technology and have built it in other countries. Right now if you assume a single CANDU thorium reactor can produce 300 Mega Watts;

Alberta would need 31 reactors to completely replace Coal and Natural Gas,

BC would need 5 to completely replace Coal and Natural Gas,

Saskatchewan would need 12 reactors to completely replace Coal and Natural Gas

and Manitoba would need 2 reactors to completely replace Coal and Natural Gas.

That is a lot of reactors, but instead of building new coal plants, why aren't we building the same reactors we have always had and using thorium in them like we know we are able to do?

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Apparently the CANDU reactors of Atomic Energy Canada Limited are 100% capable of using thorium. All power reactors built in Canada are of the CANDU type. Though it's never been done.

Nuclear power is a conservative business by nature. "Never been done" is like saying "don't try it". The consequence of a design error are simply too large for regulators to risk experimentation with a new technology if the existing technology is well understood and provides the same benefit. Edited by TimG

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Nuclear power is a conservative business by nature. "Never been done" is like saying "don't try it". The consequence of a design error are simply too large for regulators to risk experimentation with a new technology if the existing technology is well understood and provides the same benefit.

Chances are one of the other countries listed above will beat us to it. Then it's just a matter of letting them work the kinks out. In the mean time I still think Nuclear energy is the way to go and we should be building more reactors instead of new coal fire and natural gas plants.

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Chances are one of the other countries listed above will beat us to it. Then it's just a matter of letting them work the kinks out.

Countries like India which are building a nuclear industry from scratch have an incentive to experiment which we don't have. They will sort it out.

In the mean time I still think Nuclear energy is the way to go and we should be building more reactors instead of new coal fire and natural gas plants.

I agree. But the problem are the huge number of people who want to believe in solar unicorns and wind leprechauns and would howl at the suggestion that we build CO2 emission free base load. Many of them post on this board. Edited by TimG

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Eco-nuts and a pliant media make Canada out to be a pariah on the world stage when it comes to our actions on Climate Change. Canadians don't seem to agree with that position. Two-thirds of Canadians think we are doing as well as - or better - than other countries when it comes to Climate Change.

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The fact of the matter is we are not doing better than "most" other countries on climate change. And though the "eco-nuts" are wrong in their views of using nuclear energy for our base-load rather than coal and natural gas, they are right in the fact that we do need to supplement nuclear with wind, hydro and solar. But I refuse to believe the eco-nuts are whats keeping nuclear from being developed in this country. Alberta and Saskatchewan are largely conservative and could and would have nuclear energy if they wanted it. Right now they just don't want to invest in it and would rather continue their irresponsible use of coal. Which is turn effects the rest of the country. No one, especially harper, holds Alberta accountable for being the highest emitter of C02 in this country and it's about time we do. Just over 3 million people should not be emitting the amount they do, Saskatchewan as well. We curb these two provinces and we have the ability to fall within our targets.

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But I refuse to believe the eco-nuts are whats keeping nuclear from being developed in this country

Really? All that means is you don't pay attention. The anti-nuclear hysteria comes entirely from the various environmental groups like Greenpeace. If these groups actually thought rationally they would campaign in favour of nuclear power. If this happened you would likely see new plants because most people who care about a stable and secure energy system actually agree that nuclear is a part of the solution.

Just over 3 million people should not be emitting the amount they do, Saskatchewan as well. We curb these two provinces and we have the ability to fall within our targets.

Perhaps the most idiotic thing ever invented by "eco-nuts" is the idea that every patch of land should emit the same emissions. To see how idiotic it is all you need to do is draw a line around the oil sands and turn it into a separate province and all of sudden Alberta's emissions go down dramatically. The fact is we have an economy that depends on specialization and that means that some people will have to emit more CO2 than others because they are involved in businesses where CO2 production is an unavoidable consequence. Since we can't live without oil in Ontario or Quebec is it the height of hypocrisy for any eco-nut living in those provinces to complain about Alberta's emissions.

Fortunately, we have a government who actually understands the economy and ignores the hypocritical buffoons drinking lattes while they fill up their gas tanks and whine about CO2 emissions.

Edited by TimG

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Speaking for myself, my only real objection to nuclear power is with the shitty institutions of transparency and accountability that shroud the nuclear industry and even more so it's regulatory oversight.

Unfortunately right wingers get hysterical at the thought of holding their betters to account so...until such time as they get with the program they've really got nothing to contribute to this discussion.

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Really? All that means is you don't pay attention. The anti-nuclear hysteria comes entirely from the various environmental groups like Greenpeace. If these groups actually thought rationally they would campaign in favour of nuclear power. If this happened you would likely see new plants because most people who care about a stable and secure energy system actually agree that nuclear is a part of the solution.

Is greenpeace really that powerful that they can stop nuclear development in Alberta, the conservative paradise? Maybe Ontario but if Alberta wanted to they could and would do it and you know it.

Perhaps the most idiotic thing ever invented by "eco-nuts" is the idea that every patch of land should emit the same emissions. To see how idiotic it is all you need to do is draw a line around the oil sands and turn it into a separate province and all of sudden Alberta's emissions go down dramatically. The fact is we have an economy that depends on specialization and that means that some people will have to emit more CO2 than others because they are involved in businesses where CO2 production is an unavoidable consequence. Since we can't live without oil in Ontario or Quebec is it the height of hypocrisy for any eco-nut living in those provinces to complain about Alberta's emissions.

Fortunately, we have a government who actually understands the economy and ignores the hypocritical buffoons drinking lattes while they fill up their gas tanks and whine about CO2 emissions.

Well it's good that I don't live in Ontario and Quebec, so I'll assume that I have the right to complain. Plus I hate latte's.

The most idiotic thing invented by the conservatives in this country is the idea that Alberta is not responsible for its resource extraction and therefor it's emissions. It's been proven that they could use nuclear power for this extraction, that it would greatly cut down on the provinces emissions, that the province can afford it and that nothing is stopping this from happening but the government of Alberta, they in fact have no interest in currently pursuing it and have put any future conversation on the matter on hold until 2017.

Unfortunately we have a government who only understands the economy and ignores the actual experts and muzzles all their own scientists on any and all matters related to the subject.

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Is greenpeace really that powerful that they can stop nuclear development in Alberta, the conservative paradise? Maybe Ontario but if Alberta wanted to they could and would do it and you know it.

You make a good point. There is no political impediment to developing nuclear in Alberta. The main issue is cost because natural gas is plentiful and still offers CO2 reductions over coal. But even if Alberta switched to nuclear it is impossible to eliminate the large per capita emissions that result from oil production.

Unfortunately we have a government who only understands the economy and ignores the actual experts and muzzles all their own scientists on any and all matters related to the subject.

The CPC priority is the same priority of most Canadians: economic growth and jobs. The experts in power production will tell anyone willing to listen that solar and wind are bit players and thee subsidies they already get are a waste. These experts will also point out that CO2 is a hypothetical concern and nothing we do in Canada will make any difference given the size of China and India. For that reason, it really makes no sense to adopt policies which harm the Canadian economy.

Of course, you think that the government should ignore any experts which you don't agree with. You only complain about governments that ignore your pet experts which is a self-serving position.

Edited by TimG

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New Brunswick has just announced a moratorium on fracking until further notice. Is the science beginning to turn?

The science, in this case, is that when properly regulated fracking poses no risk to the environment. The decision here is an example of a government ignoring the science in order to pander to irrational special interest groups. Does your comment mean you want governments to ignore science more? Edited by TimG

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You make a good point. There is no political impediment to developing nuclear in Alberta. The main issue is cost because natural gas is plentiful and still offers CO2 reductions over coal. But even if Alberta switched to nuclear it is impossible to eliminate the large per capita emissions that result from oil production.

That's just not true. Besides the emissions generated with the construction of the plants, the mining and processing of uranium to fuel the plants, some routine operations of the plant itself and the disposal of spent fuel and other waste by-products, the emission generated by using nuclear energy over natural gas are more than significantly less.

Nuclear power could be used to supply steam for the SAGD process in the oil sands, generate electricity to support the extraction process, generate hydrogen and electricity for upgrading crude bitumen and also supply electricity for Alberta utilities use.

A fleet of 16 CANDU's or so just for the oil sands themselves, some located at the tar sands sites themselves and others located near more populated centres would do.

Plus, Alberta could sell it's natural gas off to other provinces and countries. It's a win-win for everyone, even the eco-nuts, though they don't know it yet.

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The science, in this case, is that when properly regulated fracking poses no risk to the environment. The decision here is an example of a government ignoring the science in order to pander to irrational special interest groups. Does your comment mean you want governments to ignore science more?

The key words there would most likely be "properly regulated".

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The key words there would most likely be "properly regulated".

Yes. The trouble is proper regulations need to be developed by officials that care about the science. Officials that impose knee jerk bans because of uninformed pressure groups are not people who care about the science.

Fracking is another example of how hypocritical left wingers ignore the science whenever the science says something they don't like and one of the reasons I don't think much of left wingers argument that the Harper government is "ignoring science". If someone wants to use science as a basis for a political argument they need to accept it all: even if it says something you don't like. If someone wants you argue that the science does not matter when it comes to making value based political decisions then one cannot criticize your political opponents for doing exactly that.

Edited by TimG

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New York state has also just recently issued a complete ban on Fracking following the states 184 page report which details research started in 2008 examining frackings effects on respiratory and other major health problems, drinking water contamination, seismic activity, the climate, soil contamination and community effects.
Found Here:https://www.health.ny.gov/press/reports/docs/high_volume_hydraulic_fracturing.pdf

Edited by PrimeNumber

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