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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Jeffrey Sachs Believes In Fairy Dust, Too

Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and author of Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet, was on Real Time with Bill Maher (h/t Crooks & Liars), and rather glibly pronounces:
...a small part of the Mohave Desert could provide more than half of the electricity needs of the United States without emitting any carbon dioxide, just using the solar power that's available...
Yes, all of that solar energy is just going to waste, baking sand. And it would have absolutely no effect on the climate whatsoever to begin diverting that energy to the vastly more important work of transportation and artificial climate control.

We humans clearly have a vast amount of humble pie to consume before we find our proper place on this planet. Need you add crow to the menu, sir?


  1. Canadian Geothermal EngineerMay 14, 2008 at 3:28 PM

    "Yes, all of that solar energy is just going to waste, baking sand."

    Just what point are you trying to make? Diverting the solar energy of that area would take less than 1/1000th of 1 percent of the total heat from the sun that affects the earth each day.

    You don't seem to know anything about science, do you?

  2. Hi, thanks for commenting.

    I am concerned with sustainability. The only reason we have the population and industry levels we currently enjoy is because we are using stored solar energy (oil.)

    Once we've exhausted the this resource (by exhausted, I mean the cost/benefit of extraction), we are left with our normal allotment of solar radiation, which has certain effects on our ecosphere (weather, photosynthesis... it all goes somewhere already.)

    Maintaining the same level of activity using current solar energy output would obviously divert it from what it was "doing" before. Unintended consequences will follow.

    It's a question of scale.

    As for my knowledge of science, I think a decent respect for the conservation of matter and energy is all that is needed to understand this.

    Or do you have a way of increasing the per-diem ergs of output from the sun to satisfy our larger appetite?


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