Monday, December 14, 2009

The Oil Drum | There is plenty of oil but . . .

In many ways, the folks who say we a have lots of oil are correct. All one has to do is include the oil which is extremely expensive and slow to extract. Much of the cheap, easy-to-extract oil has already been removed. Economic theory says if/when prices rise our pocketbooks will dictate finding an alternative. The alternative will relieve price pressure on the oil causing the price of oil to drop. When oil prices rose, we found substitutes, but they were poor substitutes. Biofuels interfered with food supply; wind is a substitute for natural gas and coal in electricity production, but it is not as a transportation fuel, which is one of the things that we specifically expect to be short of.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Technosanity #42: contemplating the cost of making tea

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Making tea is such a simple thing isn't it? Or, is it? Where do the tea leaves come from and what is the environmental impact of growing the tea? Where does the paper for the tea bag come from, what is the environmental impact of that? What about limited water resources? Is the tea shipped across the planet?

Many tea makers attempt to appeal to green consciousness with fair trade practices, or claiming to grow the tea sustainably, etc. All that is laudible, but then they ship the tea thousands of miles and the environmental impact of the globalized shipping probably destroys several times over the gains from the sustainable farming practice.

Technosanity #42: contemplating the cost of making tea

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Africa's largest wind farm set to emerge from Kenyan desert -

Kenya's Chalbi Desert is a bleak, forbidding stretch of coarse sand and ash-gray ridges broken by clusters of tiny huts. It is also one of the windiest places on Earth, experts say, and it soon will be the site of Africa's largest wind farm. Construction on the $760 million project began in Jan 2009, which envisions more than 350 wind turbines towering over desert expanses near Lake Turkana in northern Kenya. When completed in 2012, the wind farm is expected to boost the power supply in this nation by almost 30 percent. Kenya is one of the continent's greenest countries, with nearly three-quarters of its power coming from hydroelectric and geothermal sources.

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