STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Clean Tech not Dirty Oil

Posted by mhudema on July 24, 2008

Clean Tech Is the Answer to the Global Oil Crunch

By Kate Incontrera

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Dan Denning in The Daily Reckoning Australia says the world is facing a global oil crunch. And new ’solutions’ like Canada’s tar sands and Colorado’s shale oil are actually hugely wasteful of energy. We need an real advance in solar technology, says Dan…

The efforts to turn Canada’s tar sands and Colorado’s oil shale into energy are really just efforts to speed up what would happen naturally over time. But we don’t have time. So we throw excess energy at the problem, trying to cook shale in situ or use huge quantities of natural gas to increase oil production via the tar sands. We don’t have much excess energy, either.

Both processes use tremendous amounts of energy for a small net energy yield (energy returned on energy invested, or EROEI). Yet free solar income rains down on the planet each day. The sun is eight-minute energy! We simply don’t have an industrial system built to run off the modest amounts of energy we can convert from sunlight. We need a new system or a way to convert a higher percentage of sunlight into usable energy.

It’s not the sort of thing you design on your kitchen table. It’s the sort of thing that evolves out of necessity and experimentation. Its evolution obeys the same basic laws that govern the evolution of species… variation, mutation, adaptation. Australia has a wide variety of clever and well-managed companies working on different aspects of the problem.

But in the big picture, we think human beings are pretty good at adapting when they have to. The alternative is non-survival, which also goes by the name of death. True, civilisations seem to go through a life cycle of their own. And perhaps this oil-based one is past its prime. People are quarrelsome and stupid. We may not adapt our way out of this problem before it overwhelms us. But it would be unnatural not to try.

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