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http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/plehner/costly_oil_subsidi...
Costly Oil Subsidies Drag Us Down; Clean Energy Investments Will Build a Healthier Economy

/big snip/

Congress should capitalize on this important opportunity to negotiate a clean route off the fiscal cliff. That means ending handouts to dirty energy and supporting clean energy policies that are helping to create jobs and protect the health of all Americans.


PF
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"Congress should capitalize on this important opportunity to negotiate a clean route off the fiscal cliff. That means ending handouts to dirty energy and supporting clean energy policies that are helping to create jobs and protect the health of all Americans."



Liberal greenie anwer is always....SPEND MORE MONEY WE DON"T HAVE to solve non-existing problems....sloshing out money to favored greenie investors who will donate tens of billions to the democratic fund raising machine.

LEt's start with cutting subsidies to non-economic greenie energy projects that will never break even in the next 20 years?



t.
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"Congress should capitalize on this important opportunity to negotiate a clean route off the fiscal cliff. That means ending handouts to dirty energy and supporting clean energy policies that are helping to create jobs and protect the health of all Americans."

It is clear to me that the #1 priority for Dems this time around is raising taxes on "rich" people. After that I think everything is negotiable and I doubt the wind tax credit isn't high on the list as they have other strong constituencies to pay off.
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from the link:

"Yet Big Oil continues to be subsidized by the American taxpayer even as automatic budget cuts loom. The President has identified approximately $4 billion annually in tax loopholes for oil and gas companies that should be closed, and that has been echoed in the House, where 70 Democrats recently wrote to Speaker Boehner, urging him to eliminate these wasteful subsidies."


Wow....that's 4 billion out of , what, the 100 billion a year that oil and gas companies pay in taxes now?

And of course, if the oil and gas companies pay more in taxes, then, you, the consumer will pay that 4 billion dollars plus more a year in the price of fuel and products you buy.

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from the same link:

." A more comprehensive approach to ending handouts to dirty energy could produce much more taxpayer savings."


We could talk about the soil depleting, water resource squandering of the ethanol industry? Requiring millions of acres of land be fertilized with nitrogen based fertilizers produced from NATURAL GAS, which then runs off into the Gulf of Mexico and Oceans, prodcuing massive fish die offs, dead areas of hundreds of square miles of ocean with zero oxygen content, killing the aquatic life?

Maybe we should talk about that 'dirty energy'?

Or the likely now MILLIONS of dead birds, including bald eagles and other endangered species chopped to death by giant bird killing machines sprouting up all over the country? Where folks go out daily and pick up hundreds of dead birds? Wind power slaughtering the country's bird population.

Oh, no? That isn't what they meant? Why not?

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Greenie energy has MAJOR environmental impact!....


It should be taxed to compensate 'nature' and people for the damage!



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from the link:

"For example, oil companies routinely exploit an accounting method known as Last In First Out Accounting to minimize their tax liability when oil prices are high and Americans are suffering. "


Wow...but you failed to mention that Solyndra not only sucked 500 million out of taxpayer pockets, but now has 170 million in 'tax credits' fro greenie projects that folks are fighting over.

The greenie industry made a lot of money by accumulating 'greenie tax credits'....which survive bankruptcy....and then folks like Al Gore and others buy up the defunct company for 1c on the dollar and reap hundreds of millions of dollars in 'tax credits' against other income

It's a totally corrupt system, but heck, you folks keep funding these greenie corrupt industries, and sloshing out billions in tax credits to them.

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from the link:"

"Oil and gas companies also generate unfair windfall profits using a loophole in the Foreign Tax Credit that allows them to claim benefits that exceed the policy’s intent."

Same for greenie energy, but even worse. THere is no such thing as 'windfall profits'. Profits are profits and are taxed.

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from the link:"When added to the other fossil subsidies, these two items alone would nearly double the budget benefits to almost $80 billion over ten years."


Wow...that is 8 billion a year....and in those ten years , the oil and gas industry will pay over a trillion in taxes......and hire over 2 million folks directly and another 4 or 6 million people indirectly, with a payroll of trillions of dollars, on which the folks will pay probably hundreds of billions in income taxes and other taxes.

and all you whine about is 1% of all of that?

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Maybe it is time you awoke from your coma and anti-fossil fuel hate. Turn off your natural gas/propane heat.....and hot water. Freeze to death for all I care in your house with no heat from any fossil fuels including electricity. Most of the country , like 99.999%, aren't willing to join you. Then give up your car, and everything else delivered to you by fossil fuels, including your mail, your food, all goods and services. Only use contractors who drive 100% electric vehicles, charged only from non-fossil fuel energy sources. Do not consume any electricity from other than 100% green, 100% of the time energy producers. Eat nothing grown with fossil fuel fertilizers, transported with fossil fueled vehicles, farmed with fossil fuel equipment like tractors and harvestors, dried with fossil fuels, frozen with fossil fuels, 100% pesticide free (they are made from fossil fuels), and don't for goodness sake heat or prepare them with fossil fuels or even wood, as it pollutes. No BBQ for you.

When you reach that point, we can then talk about your hatred for fossil fuels. A good shrink might be of service, but only if you can get there on your bike. Most mass transit uses fossil fuels, so that is out too.

t.
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LEt's start with cutting subsidies to non-economic greenie energy projects that will never break even in the next 20 years?

Cut subsidies when there is a pigovian tax in place instead. NOT before.
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And of course, if the oil and gas companies pay more in taxes, then, you, the consumer will pay that 4 billion dollars plus more a year in the price of fuel and products you buy.

...and we will be 4 billion dollars LESS in the hole at the end of the year AS WELL as using less petrol.

...and if using the Foreign Tax Credit to cheat (benefits that exceed the policy's intent) is sacrosanct then every other cheat in the tax code is as well. Maybe we shouldn't tear it up and start over then? I know I think we SHOULD but you seem to like this cheat from what you say.

Those subsidies mentioned are not a patch on the fact that the fossil-fuel industries are allowed to dispose of their waste for free. I have to pay to get my garbage taken away.

Maybe it is time you awoke from your coma and anti-fossil fuel hate. Well well well... we see the true telegraph again. Not that pretty.

First of all it is not a logical nor an ethical requirement that someone advocating for the protection of the commons reject all use of it. That is a common mistake for people on the right... we don't wear hair shirts so you don't have to listen? FYWAFS.

Then you go on to say we can't use wood because that pollutes, wrong answer. The CO2 there is still carbon neutral. Because some places use hydro for electricity, or geothermal your generalizations fall flat.

Yes... we do want to stop using fossil fuels. They are killing the future. They are pushing CO2 up 50 times faster than any known event in the history of the planet. We have replaced the CO2 it took thousands of millennia for nature to sequester - in 150 years. We are already in a completely unknown area, climate response to a step function increase in one of the forcings. YOU do not know what will happen... the science says it is probably going to be fatal to our society. We know that the science that raised us out of the dark ages is not at this critical juncture, lying to us and we are very certain that it is not wrong.

You seem to think that this is "fossil fuel hatred" and not sane. Have you considered how YOU look to US? :-)
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No. of Recommendations: 7
The link in the original post says our "current wind energy production prevents the release of 65 million tons of carbon dioxide" annually. Of course the author fails to mention how much CO2 is avoided by the operation of the nation's nuclear power plants.

http://www.nei.org/resourcesandstats/nuclear_statistics/envi...

Nuclear generated electricity avoided 613 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2011 in the U.S. This is nearly as much carbon dioxide as is released from 118 million cars, which is nearly all U.S. passenger cars.
------------------------------------------------------

If the agenda was to actually reduce CO2 emissions in a significant way, the major environmental organizations wouldn't ignore such a useful energy source that provides reliable 24/7 power. However, if their true agenda is merely to lobby for the construction of more wind turbines and solar power plants, then their plan seems to be working well.

- Pete
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t:""And of course, if the oil and gas companies pay more in taxes, then, you, the consumer will pay that 4 billion dollars plus more a year in the price of fuel and products you buy."

BJ responds:"...and we will be 4 billion dollars LESS in the hole at the end of the year AS WELL as using less petrol."


You libs really don't get it. If business has to pay another 4 billion for products, they'll take it off their income as a legal 'cost of doing business'. That means they'll pay less tax. You'll get to pay higher costs for their products too since they'll up the cost you pay to cover that, plus, of course, maintain their profit margin.

And you, too, will pay more as the oil and gas companies simply raise rates.

Overall, the economy suffers, and you pay the tax one way or another, and business makes less money, pays less taxes, and the government in the end doesn't collect a single dime more.

Your company bonus likely goes down as their costs go up. Your raises don't go up as much.

Worse, your stocks don't go up as much.

In the end, you lose from every angle.

Remember, it is only consumers who actually pay taxes.

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BJ:"...and if using the Foreign Tax Credit to cheat (benefits that exceed the policy's intent) is sacrosanct then every other cheat in the tax code is as well. Maybe we shouldn't tear it up and start over then? I know I think we SHOULD but you seem to like this cheat from what you say."

I have no problem deducting my local taxes and sales taxes each year. Actually, I use the tables and get a lot more back than I paid in taxes but that's the 'LAW' so I follow it. Take off my real estate taxes too. And for 15 years, I used by 401K and IRA deductions faithfully, cheating the government out of more taxes since my tax rate in retirement is half of what it was when I was working. But it's the law and I follow the LAW, just like companies do.

IT was congress that created 10,000 loopholes in the law, trying to favor their particular industry of the day, subsidy of the day, and trying to make Swiss cheese out of 'regulations' and 'regulatory policy' that was more politics and rewarding constituent bases. In other words, PORKULUS SUPREME.


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VJ:"Those subsidies mentioned are not a patch on the fact that the fossil-fuel industries are allowed to dispose of their waste for free. I have to pay to get my garbage taken away."

LEt's see...we pay the ethanol industry tens of billions to pollute the gulf of MExico.... so maybe we should charge them for 'disposal of their wastes' as well? and all the dead birds? by the millions. If any industry other than wind killed 100 birds a year, the EPA would be fining them a million bucks a year and demanding they fix the problem! talk about 'hiding the garbage'!

-======






bj:"Then you go on to say we can't use wood because that pollutes, wrong answer. The CO2 there is still carbon neutral. Because some places use hydro for electricity, or geothermal your generalizations fall flat."

So you really don't have any objection to all of India burning massive amounts of dung and wood? They're both 'natural' and merely recycling carbon, right? And no, wood is not carbon neutral. It spews CO2 into the air in massive amounts, along with all sorts of other pollutants.
Fireplaces are the most efficient things you can have and old wood stoves are horrible at creating all sorts of pollution, including massive amounts of soot.

And of course, the Sierra club will fight you on hydro. We're actually shutting down hydro in maine and California and WA and OR state. Any lib can tell you that hydro harms the environment. That 'commons' you talk about. Kills the fish. Prevents floods. To the eco-whack floods are good. So what if they destroy homes and farms. and worse, dams generate, gulp, power......and eco-whacks hate dams.

There is no good greenie energy to a greenie. Other than standing in the sun......and getting cancer. or a totally passive house built out of sun fired mud bricks, with recycled wood, with no electricity because that would require fossil fuels to make the copper wire...



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You talk the talk, but won't do the walk. Face it, you just want EVERYONE else to use less fossil fuels. YOu want to deny 5 billion people the standard of living you have, so you can maintain yours. You don't want those five billion people to have cars, to have washing machines and refrigerators. On the other hand, those five billion people think you need to come down to their standard of living if you deny them their fair share at your standard of living and the only way for them to get to yours is to use fossil fuels by the megaton.

t.
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If the agenda was to actually reduce CO2 emissions in a significant way, the major environmental organizations wouldn't ignore such a useful energy source that provides reliable 24/7 power. However, if their true agenda is merely to lobby for the construction of more wind turbines and solar power plants, then their plan seems to be working well.

- Pete

========================================

What ratepayer, public utilities commission or politician would ever want to pay for the high cost of nuclear in market driven economy? It is just too expensive! Nuclear costs are disguised with smoke and mirrors. Wind power is cheaper than nuclear even without government production energy credits:

According to the federal Energy Information Administration, the “levelized cost” of new wind power (including capital and operating costs) is 8.2 cents per kWh. Nuclear costs 11 cents per kWh, the same as nuclear. But advanced natural gas-burning plants come in at just 6.3 cents per kWh.

jaagu
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You libs really don't get it. If business has to pay another 4 billion for products, they'll take it off their income as a legal 'cost of doing business'. That means they'll pay less tax. You'll get to pay higher costs for their products too since they'll up the cost you pay to cover that, plus, of course, maintain their profit margin.

Yeah, its funny as part of Obamacare there is a 2.3% tax on medical devices. What are we doing? Passing that on to the customer and using it as an excuse to round up another couple percent. Working as intended.
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"Yeah, its funny as part of Obamacare there is a 2.3% tax on medical devices. What are we doing? Passing that on to the customer and using it as an excuse to round up another couple percent. Working as intended. "

No, it's not. And it is 2.5 on gross receipts.....

Actually, it's about a 25% tax on profits. With the profit margin on some devices only 10%, that's a 25% tax.

Of course, you are going to pay for it. The device makers will up their prices quickly, or cheapen the devices and the gov't will pay the same. Maybe less quality.

And of course, those device makers have already laid off over 1000 workers with more to come. Less taxes flowing into the treasury. Net gain...likely ZERO when it's totaled up. 1000 more people on unemployment, and filing for SS disability if they can imagine some ailment. And on foodstamps and other federal programs.


And, of course, the less 'profit' you have at the company...the less taxes they pay!...... you bleed them.....they have higher costs...and of course, that means you collect less income taxes.

So, you really think there is a money fairy? IF so, it is YOU ......and you'll be paying that new 2.3% tax too.

Libs - bad at math. Every tax on a company is simply paid for by customers in increased costs....and the company pays less in income taxes and in this case, less in SS contributions and less salaries ....with fewer workers.

the gov't loses on the deal, the customers lose on the deal...

and the only winner is the government who hoodwinks you into thinking it is actually collecting more taxes while borrowing trillions more to cover the shortfall it has created.....and while the column '2.3% tax' is full, the other column of 'income taxes' goes down, the column for foodstamps for the laid off workers skyrockets, the cost of their unemployment insurance for 99 weeks skyrockets.....

You did really think your answer through before you posted it, right? No? you just assumed 'a money fairy pays the tax'?


t.
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You did really think your answer through before you posted it, right? No? you just assumed 'a money fairy pays the tax'?

We're on the same page with the tax, my last comment was tongue in cheek. The tax was probably thought up by someone with a lifetime of experience in government and none in business.
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"The tax was probably thought up by someone with a lifetime of experience in government and none in business. "

the 'tax' was thought up to collect 10 years of taxes to pay for five years of ObamaKare for the welfare weenies and queenies. After that, it goes broke.

IT's a scam from day one..a shell game...made to seem like ObamaKare is actually 'affordable' when it is a disaster from day 1.


t.
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jaagu says: According to the federal Energy Information Administration, the “levelized cost” of new wind power (including capital and operating costs) is 8.2 cents per kWh. Nuclear costs 11 cents per kWh...
----------------------------------------------------------

I don't think you actually looked at the EIA website. Here is what it really says:
http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

From Table 1 in the link:
Advanced Nuclear levelized capital cost- $87.5 per MWh
Wind levelized capital cost- $82.5 per MWh

($87.5 per MWh = 8.75 cents per kwh)

Including fixed O&M, variable O&M and new transmission investment, then the costs go up to:
Nuclear- $111.4/MWh
Wind- $96.0/MWh

But did you read this following part? (emphasis added)
The duty cycle for intermittent renewable resources, wind and solar, is not operator controlled, but dependent on the weather or solar cycle (that is, sunrise/sunset) and so will not necessarily correspond to operator dispatched duty cycles. As a result, their levelized costs are not directly comparable to those for other technologies (even where the average annual capacity factor may be similar) and therefore are shown in separate sections within the table.
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Wind and solar are like buying a very efficient and environmentally clean car, but it spends 70% of the time in the shop and therefore you can't drive it.

Look at how little wind power has been generated in the Bonneville Power Administration over the last week.

http://transmission.bpa.gov/Business/Operations/Wind/baltwg....

Almost no wind power was generated on December 25, 26, 28, 29 and 30. And for the 2 days where wind power was generated, it was only about 50% of the system capacity for parts of the days.

With regard to natural gas, it is still a fossil fuel and produces CO2 when burned. The current low cost of the fuel is by no means guaranteed for the next 10, 20 or 50 years.

- Pete
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Advanced nuclear is still in the dream phase. We have none operating and we do not know their real costs. Maybe we should also have a dream advanced wind turbine farm that cost 20% less to compare to the dream advanced nuclear plant.

I like the 35% wind and 65% nat gas. It makes a pretty good combo. The total CO2 is only 65% of nat gas plant at 100%. It saves on nat gas plant O&M by 35% and extends its life by 35%. I think the utilities around the world see the same benefits. That is why wind and natural gas are leading new generation all over the world.

jaagu
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Telegraph you remain willing to distort and invent words and lyrics so your song and dance can continue. FYWAF-S mate... because you are the one who isn't getting it.

You'll get to pay higher costs for their products too since they'll up the cost you pay to cover that, plus, of course, maintain their profit margin.

Or I will use LESS of their products and more of someone else's who doesn't have to pay a premium for wrecking my environment. Funny how that part of the equation doesn't register with you. Price goes up usage goes down and substitutes are found. Economics 101. Even in the BS economic system we're saddled with.

and business makes less money, pays less taxes, and the government in the end doesn't collect a single dime more.

Since on your planet (it clearly isn't this one) taxes don't actually affect government income then we obviously need no taxes at all and the government will still have the same income as with the taxes. You make as little sense as you ever have.

it is only consumers who actually pay taxes

In the end we're all dead too. Yet somehow the interval between birth and death allows us to accomplish things that are meaningful to us. IF we tax a behaviour we will get less of that behaviour and more of something else. What we tax and how much MATTERS in terms of the structure of our economy and the resources it uses and abuses. Saying otherwise is nothing more than right wing reductionist bull dust.

we pay the ethanol industry tens of billions to pollute the gulf of MExico.... so maybe we should charge them for 'disposal of their wastes' as well?

If they are not paying for dumping sludge instead of treating the water they used - what makes you think I like the ethanol industry?

The real deal is putting a tax, not a tradable right to emit, on the emission of CO2. Refund the bux it generates. The tax is not $23 a tonne or $12 a tonne or such... it is $250 a tonne - ENOUGH TO HURT!!!

This pushes the most effective and efficient non-emitting tech to the fore. No argument about "The Sierra Club doesn't like hydro" - Hydro is good. No BS about the comparative costs of Nukes vs Solar, they duke it out in the market.

You mistake me for your stereotypes... and your stereotypes suck swamp water. We don't hate dams... not anywhere I've ever been. The "Sierra Club" isn't about CO2, doesn't care that much about it... it has a very DIFFERENT mission brief to the CO2 activists, and lumping us all together is a major error.

India burns dung and wood, is massively overpopulated and has to grow dung and wood, which takes CO2 OUT of the air which makes it carbon neutral. Local pollution, stench and efficiency notwithstanding. What part of the natural cycle are you missing? Growing the trees and plants that get turned into fuel. You can't do that here mate. It is a cycle. It takes up Carbon, it emits carbon. Same amount in the end.

There is no good greenie energy to a greenie. Other than standing in the sun......and getting cancer. or a totally passive house built out of sun fired mud bricks, with recycled wood, with no electricity because that would require fossil fuels to make the copper wire...

T, you are simply lying to yourself here. Stupidly, I took you off ignore cause you had a couple of good days in a row.

You talk the talk, but won't do the walk.

Yeah... I moved my whole family to NZ where most electricity comes from renewable sources. I use it for mowing the lawn and what little heat my little well insulated house takes. I arranged my commute to be < 10 km, and I took a 50% cut in pay and less job security to do that

I want EVERYONE to use less fossil fuels.

Face it, you just want EVERYONE else to use less fossil fuels. - my bold

Where does the "else" in your version come from... your imagination?

There isn't a green on the planet who is so selfish as you just implied. You are lying badly to yourself if you believe rubbish like that.

You don't want those five billion people to have cars, to have washing machines and refrigerators.

False. You're have no idea what I want.

On the other hand, those five billion people think you need to come down to their standard of living if you deny them their fair share at your standard of living and the only way for them to get to yours is to use fossil fuels by the megaton.

Wrong. The two CAN equalize... but not with BAU. NEVER with BAU.

However, fixing the economic injustice of the world requires the survival of enough humans to actually have an economy. It requires a lot more from the folks who currently own everything. Which is probably why they fund the Heritage Foundation and the CEI and other paid liars. The Occupy Wall Street crowd vaguely understands that the monetary system is fraud. I understand it more explicitly. Greens seldom trouble themselves about it but I do, because economics is the primary tool with which we manipulate the environment. Society gets at the environment THROUGH the economic system. A distorted economy damages both society and the environment... and it is plenty distorted.

Fixing that however, will take something of a revolution. We have to fight the CO2 problem sooner and the tax does that.
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bjp:"Or I will use LESS of their products and more of someone else's who doesn't have to pay a premium for wrecking my environment. "

or buy it on the black market. Tell me about booze. The only reason there is STILL a large bootleg booze market is because of taxes.

Now, criminal gangs are moving into Chicago and NYC since they can make 3-5 buck s pack since those cities have $6 and 7 buck a pay tax on cigarettes.

All you would get is massive fraud, abuse, corruption...and, of course, up north, woodburning would add megatons of CO2 and particulates.....yuk....but...you'd force that behavior.

Wood stove sales with skyrocket. SO would charcoal...

or.....millions would freeze in their homes as they couldn't afford heating oil and natural gas.

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bjp:"Funny how that part of the equation doesn't register with you."


Yes, funny when tens of millions can't afford the gas to get to work,and freeze in their homes in the valleys they live in.


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bjp:" Price goes up usage goes down and substitutes are found. "

Yeah..I remember when I lived in rural VA.....put in a wood stove. Saved a bunch on heat..even though I had an 'efficient' heat pump.

Also burned the fireplace at times. Had lots of wood.

In western MA, the main topic of conversation starting in October is 'How many cords of wood have you laid up for winter'?

We got millions and millions of acres of forests we can burn.

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"IF we tax a behaviour we will get less of that behaviour and more of something else."

The biggest part of a gallon of gas is already fed and state taxes. folks still drive. And use billions of gallons of gas.

and no, folks still smoke by the tens of millions.....

and folks still drive.....and drive...and take guzzling jet airplanes all over the place in record numbers worldwide....

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bjp:" What we tax and how much MATTERS in terms of the structure of our economy and the resources it uses and abuses."

What we tax mostly are resources and 'income' in various forms enumerated in a Swiss cheese 100,000 page 'tax code' with so many subsidies and loopholes that 747s can fly through them with ease.

The tax code is merely a matter of politicians 'goring the other guy' and doing the least damage for his/her constituents,nothing else.

It's going after the 'big targets' to extract revenues.....then giving them giant tax breaks and tax code exceptions you can drive a semi truck through with ease.

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bjP:"If they are not paying for dumping sludge instead of treating the water they used - what makes you think I like the ethanol industry?"


Because you have no alternative at this time to 'fossil fuels' for transporation despite the fact ethanol provides zero new energy, just recycled fossil fuel energy.

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bjp:"The real deal is putting a tax, not a tradable right to emit, on the emission of CO2."

only in your greenie redistribution world, where you want to punish the 'past emitters' with 'reparation payments'.

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bjp:" Refund the bux it generates."


to the basic welfare weenie and queenie types who drool at the prospect of 20 trillion in 'carbon taxes' to be distributed by a commission of 194 nations,most of whom hate the USA.

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bjp:"The tax is not $23 a tonne or $12 a tonne or such... it is $250 a tonne - ENOUGH TO HURT!!!"

Great..you pay it and leave the rest of us out of the equation. We don't want to go back to 1820s living. YOu apparently do.

-----


bjp:"This pushes the most effective and efficient non-emitting tech to the fore. "

No, it dooms 3 billion people to living in sub sub standard conditions, unable to buy a washing machine and refrigerator since they can't afford the green energy at 50 or 100% more cost. It leaves billions without motor scooters to make a more productive life.

And it also lowers standards of living for the developed world.

All it would do is keep dying Solyndras alive for a a few more years bleeding more and more billions before they go bust.


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bjp:" The "Sierra Club" isn't about CO2, doesn't care that much about it... it has a very DIFFERENT mission brief to the CO2 activists, and lumping us all together is a major error."

Really? YOu all seem to have the same agenda. Pollute the planet with ethanol waste, stop nukes, (clean energy) at all costs - the commie wish)......stop coal mining , stop fossil fuel use, stop all research into better crops ......

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BJP:"India burns dung and wood, is massively overpopulated and has to grow dung and wood, which takes CO2 OUT of the air which makes it carbon neutral."


Wrong..cattle have to be fed, by pumps running on diesel, and crops irrigated by fossil fuels, farmed by fossil fuels, harvested by fossil fuels. Worse, they don't even eat them...let them die, then burn them.....

And trees take 100 years to gather CO2...and then it is all released quickly. ANd of course, by the time you count the fossil fuels to harvest, move , transport, cut the wood, you've spend even more megatons of fossil fuels to get them to final destination.

Planting trees only takes CO2 out of the air if then are NEVER ever ever harvested.....and are allowed to rot over 50 years slowly releasing their CO2 into the ground and air and water....

That isn't the case in INdia or Brazil or anywhere else where firewood is used.

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bjp"Yeah... I moved my whole family to NZ where most electricity comes from renewable sources. I use it for mowing the lawn and what little heat my little well insulated house takes. I arranged my commute to be < 10 km, and I took a 50% cut in pay and less job security to do that"


And probably half your food stuff is imported with fossil fuels, and if they disappeared tomorrow your standard of living would collapse.

You probably could have done a lot better here moving to a small town, setting up a net zero energy house, getting a methane digester, a bunch of solar cells and a windmill..and avoided all the costs of moving to NZ and taking a 50% paycut.

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bjp:"Fixing that however, will take something of a revolution. We have to fight the CO2 problem sooner and the tax does that. "

Every decade, someone has been screaming 'it's the end of the world'. We're running out of oil. We're in global cooling! there's not enough food to feed the world.

And every time, humans are smart enough to adapt. We keep getting better and better crops needing less and less water, losing less and less to bugs and pests each year. WE keep finding more and more fossil fuels and ways to get them. we find ways to 'farm fish' so we don't deplete the seas to zero and yet have more and more fish each year. We have cars with double the gas mileage of just a few years ago. HOmes are better and better energy wise every decade.

We don't need screaming ninnies telling us 'the world is going to end' unless we swallow their story hook, line and sinker.

Been there. ...done that....and it never is as bad as the fear mongers spout about.


t.
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Sorry mate.... your "Free Market Fundamentalist" religion fails to impress me. It IS a religion - there is no evidence whatsoever that the market works that well, it doesn't. The market FAILS.

It fails because people do NOT get perfect information and it fails because it leaves a raft of unpriced externalities and it fails because the big money has captured and directs government to do what is good for big money. Lots of failures actually.

Nor are Friedman et.al. correct in asserting that it is connected with a free society. There is no evidence in history of such a connection and several significant counterexamples.

Which makes "Free Market Fundamentalism" a belief system comparable with Creationism or Communism. It is unsupportable in real world observations.

All you would get is massive fraud, abuse, corruption
So - No different from now then.

The biggest part of a gallon of gas is already fed and state taxes. folks still drive. And use billions of gallons of gas.

Less per mile now, and less than they did, and the current price isn't nearly high enough to keep people from making stupid choices about where to live and how.

What we tax mostly are resources and 'income' in various forms enumerated in a Swiss cheese...

Which does not address the principle. You are trying to distract here because you can't answer this. It is one of YOUR OWN principles. Taxes change behaviour and what we tax matters. In spite of the fact that ultimately we are the ones who pay the tax.


YOu all seem to have the same agenda. Pollute the planet with ethanol waste, stop nukes, (clean energy) at all costs - the commie wish)......stop coal mining , stop fossil fuel use, stop all research into better crops ......

OK... now you've started lying outright. You are making up rubbish and publishing it. Arguing with a liar is pretty counterproductive.

Planting trees only takes CO2 out of the air if then are NEVER ever ever harvested.

No... it takes CO2 out of the air as long as the tree is growing. It releases it in a bunch if the tree is harvested and burned. With a tax on CO2 the tree farmers will find non-fuel intensive ways to move lumber. Inconvenient and an incentive to use the wood wisely too.

And probably half your food stuff is imported with fossil fuels, and if they disappeared tomorrow your standard of living would collapse.

We export food. Guess again.


And every time, humans are smart enough to adapt.

Science is the tool we are smart WITH. You are arguing that the scientists are wrong JUST THIS TIME, based on no evidence whatsoever, and that they are otherwise perfectly brilliant and will save us from a problem that they themselves are terrified about... THEY know that there isn't an easy answer. YOU assume that they're lying when they collectively, are incapable of such a thing (individuals might falsify something, but the academies and scientific organizations cannot long tolerate such things and do not). Every one of those organizations tells you there is a big effing problem with climate.

"Running out of" *CHEAP* "oil"... we did. Nor was that a scientific issue, and we reduced our usage as you observed, because of the price.

"In global cooling?" A myth, a fairy tale out of the CEI liars forum.

"Not enough food to feed the world" - coming inevitably as we continue to eat the planet but apt to be overtaken by the climate change destroying farmland.

You only have the experience of one lifetime and you fail to comprehend that we have NOT "been there done that" with the climate as we are changing it.

We already pumped, 50 times faster than in any paleo-record we know of, enough CO2 to replace everything that Mother Nature sequestered in the past 3 or more thousand millennia... in 150 years. That's a step function change in a complex system. There is nothing we can look at to tell us what happens next... the models give us some idea but it isn't a good look. The temperature is rising some 20 times faster than any time in the climate record. We DO NOT know how things like the WAIS will respond.

...but adaptation is something you do gradually.

Fish Farms, as do other farms, depend on climate... they also depend on ocean chemistry which we are also changing.

What happens when as climate turns on us in the course of a mere decade or two? When we are challenged by frequent droughts, floods and different bugs and pests?

We keep FINDING more fossil fuels but we cannot afford them. Not really. Money makes that equation way too broken for you to be citing it here. There is no price on the CO2. All those things can be true and entirely irrelevant as we pump the CO2 forcing up to plus 4 degrees and higher. Can't grow stuff in NORTHERN Canada unless we also ship topsoil from the south.

Optimism never built a trustworthy bridge, and the bridge to the future is no different from any other. Do the risk analysis. Stop believing in the tooth fairy.
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We already pumped, 50 times faster than in any paleo-record we know of, enough CO2 to replace everything that Mother Nature sequestered in the past 3 or more thousand millennia... in 150 years. That's a step function change in a complex system. There is nothing we can look at to tell us what happens next... the models give us some idea but it isn't a good look. The temperature is rising some 20 times faster than any time in the climate record. We DO NOT know how things like the WAIS will respond.

bjchip,

I appreciate your sincerity in advocating on this issue - but do you really believe that the above is true? I've typically gotten the impression that you are quite convinced that the results of climate change will destroy human civilization, if not human life altogether, in the absence of very dramatic and immediate changes to emissions behavior.

That's somewhat inconsistent with the notion that we have an imperfect ability to predict the consequences of rapid emissions. We can clearly predict that the future will be hotter, and that this will affect the climate - and even that many of the effects will be negative for mankind. But the degree of those negative impacts (net of positive impacts) is difficult to predict. This is especially the case when trying to project the impact of physical changes to the environment (say, increasing annual precipitation in the U.S.) to human society - or our own responses to them.

Do you believe that we can predict, with any degree of certainty, that failure to act to control emissions will result in calamitous - rather than simply negative - impacts on human civilization?

Albaby
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Do you believe that we can predict, with any degree of certainty, that failure to act to control emissions will result in calamitous - rather than simply negative - impacts on human civilization?

The plus 4 degrees we are courting now?

YES!

There is one escape clause. You might be able to identify it as I have mentioned it before, but it has to be reached for BEFORE climate changes get so severe as to shorten our reach, and it isn't ( I think ) likely to happen through private enterprise.
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The plus 4 degrees we are courting now?

YES!


How, exactly? Human beings can physically live in temperatures that are 4 degrees higher than average temperatures in almost everywhere on the globe. If we can't be certain what happens to the environment with higher temperatures, how do you know we won't simply adapt to higher temps?

In other words, how do you know 4 degree = the end of human civilization, while < 2 degrees would not?

Albaby
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First:

There are 6 billion people in a highly complex barely feeding themselves dependency on agriculture, all evolved for the temperatures and rainfall patterns and weather patterns that prevailed over the past 10 millennia. A pretty limited range and it would be stretching it to say we're feeding everyone. Plus 4 is a small change in weather but a MASSIVE change in climate. The Glaciation to here is only about 6 degrees IIRC.

At Plus 4 much of southern Europe, north Africa and the Middle East become uninhabitable - climate refugees move North (South in the Southern Hemisphere). (My personal expectation is a MINIMUM - 1.5-1.7 meters of sea level rise by 2100 but THAT does NOT stop for a thousand years).


Second:

The best case is a smooth transition to the steady state. We aren't so good with the transients. What we've done is put in a ridiculous step function forcing change. Temperature is rising 20x faster than its wont, and our CO2 step function is 50x faster. Rapidly changing weather is NOT good for agriculture. Neither are the steady state heat and drought and major flooding extremes that we get in the smoother case... the combination is almost certain, at plus 4, to cut agricultural productivity to less than half... globally. It will mostly be poor people who starve... but some own weapons of mass destruction and they WILL be desperate... they WILL blame the USA. (with some reason I think)

History contains many ruins of civilizations that suffered some form of overshoot of their natural environment's resources of food and water. What we are doing is different. We are ALTERING those resources through our manipulation of the climate. We are doing this without intent and in the case of people who ignore scientists, without knowledge but even if we pulled back on our population and did not ever overshoot our current food production, we still wind up in overshoot when that production crashes back. The water shortages, energy shortages and heat stress will put paid to the "green revolution" that was fueled by plenty of energy and water.

This change will (I think) come more suddenly due to the step function of the increase. It may indeed, be too late to prevent it at all. The planet is (my best guess) in climate terms, going to ring like a bell before it settles down with each reverberation spanning a human generation.



Third:

Feedbacks - The most likely being the release of Carbon from the permafrost. We are pretty sure the Methane Hydrates will stay put. We must hope that they do. The permafrost will amplify the effects of our emissions. Other feedbacks are also possible several have been identified and none can be easily discounted. What this adds for us is a fairly strong expectations that we are going to trigger some of these effects, making it harder to stabilize temperature. This is not directly, an impact on our civilization. What it becomes though, is a challenge, a demand to cut emissions much more strongly than previously thought necessary. At 4 degrees this will no longer be a matter of reasoned discourse. At 4 degrees the effort to not reach 5 will be more like a religious jihad.

Fourth:

Much of our infrastructure, much of our ENERGY infrastructure is located on coastlines and rivers to obtain cooling water. We have seen some of the risk at Fukushima... all such plants will have to be abandoned and relocated as the water rises. Many will have their output cut as the water warms or river flows fall below minimums. Our civilization RELIES on energy.

Consider too what happened to our supply of disk drives with a single flood in Thailand... the rise and fall of water will become larger and some (much?) of our industry will be found to be more fragile than expected.

We have been living a great economic lie by using money that does not represent work done, and when the energy disappears, an awful lot of our civilization goes with it.

====================================

Individually these things would be bad enough. Cumulatively I expect them to basically end anything that resembles a "global" civilization. Global trade will be non-existent. Resource wars will be short, sharp and genocidal. A lot of things will be broken... the internet for one... and while it is possible that pockets of civilization will survive, the reach of our species will be severely shortened. Part of the problem is that to reach plus four we'll have committed a pretty substantial error and our chances of stopping are much poorer, due to the feedbacks we expect. The other part is that that temperature regime takes us back 50 million years, but things were very different then and we can't actually look to that time to understand what the CLIMATE will be now (Continents in different places)... and we are headed for that same temperature in less than 300 years, not 50 million. The transient conditions are apt to be deadly.

I am not alone in this assessment. Most scientists recommend plus 2 as the maximum "safe" limit, as beyond that the risk of feedbacks rises exponentially. Like many, I no longer believe we'll manage to stay under plus 3 any more than we could avoid going over the fiscal cliff.

http://www.fourdegrees2011.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/07...

http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/2012/11/20/oped-a-world-4-d...
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Individually these things would be bad enough. Cumulatively I expect them to basically end anything that resembles a "global" civilization. Global trade will be non-existent. Resource wars will be short, sharp and genocidal. A lot of things will be broken... the internet for one... and while it is possible that pockets of civilization will survive, the reach of our species will be severely shortened. Part of the problem is that to reach plus four we'll have committed a pretty substantial error and our chances of stopping are much poorer, due to the feedbacks we expect. The other part is that that temperature regime takes us back 50 million years, but things were very different then and we can't actually look to that time to understand what the CLIMATE will be now (Continents in different places)... and we are headed for that same temperature in less than 300 years, not 50 million. The transient conditions are apt to be deadly.

See, it's this step that I don't understand - where you go from some admittedly nasty impacts to jumping to the end of civilization, or even your certainty about the extent of those impacts.

For example, yes - much of our energy infrastructure is near the coast or rivers. So what? Much (if not almost all) of our energy infrastructure has a useful life measured in a few decades, and requiring enormous investment in continual maintenance to reach even that. As the seas rise, we'll just move further inland.

Similarly, I don't understand your certainty that agricultural practices will not adapt to hotter and wetter weather. Yes, a changing climate is bad for the way we do agriculture today. But the way we do agriculture today didn't even exist fifty years ago (for the most part), and chances are the way we would be practicing agriculture fifty years from now even absent climate change would be very different as well. We have tools to engineer crops in ways that were unimaginable even a generation ago.

We have limited understanding even of what will happen to the environment with these types of continued emissions, let alone the next steps of how those changes will affect current agricultural practices, how agriculture will respond to those changes, and how those changed agricultural practices will affect society more generally.

Neither of your links really addresses that. Jim's op-ed states the obvious - a world with four degrees climate change will be have some very different weather than the world we have today. It states the (equally) obvious that this will be deeply problematic for continuing existing practices in some areas of the world. What it doesn't say is that this will be catastrophic for civilization, or even that we have any certainty as to the degree that it will be bad overall.

I think you're dramatically underestimating the degree to which civilization can make massive changes, particularly over the time frames you're talking about. China moved 300 million people - nearly a quarter of its population - out of the countryside into the cities in the span of three decades. The world is utterly different today than it was 80 years ago, and would be utterly different from the way it is today 80 years hence even without climate change. The hallmark of modern civilization is rapid change, in technologies and population centers and a host of other things.

It could be really bad. But we don't know if it will be really bad. Given that uncertainty, and the limits of our predictive ability, I don't understand your own conviction that four degrees means the end of civilization.

Albaby
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bjp:"There are 6 billion people in a highly complex barely feeding themselves dependency on agriculture, all evolved for the temperatures and rainfall patterns and weather patterns that prevailed over the past 10 millennia."


And the Club of Rome predicted the world would have collapsed, when was it,...oh, right 1990 as the food supplies ran out.

Well, so much for the doomsayers. We feed a billion more, in comfort. Yes, we use a lot of energy doing it, but we produce more and more food for less and less energy and it improves every year. We produce so much in the way of 'calories' of food that 1/3rd the planet is now OBESE.

Growing areas have moved over the centuries. Man has adapted. Now, with bio engineering and GM food - plus artificial food - we should have not have a problem. It is always food distribution that is the problem.

------



bjp:" Plus 4 is a small change in weather but a MASSIVE change in climate. The Glaciation to here is only about 6 degrees IIRC."

And many other experts say it will be 2 deg or less, C.

WE'll adapt. Grow food differently.

---------


bjp:"At Plus 4 much of southern Europe, north Africa and the Middle East become uninhabitable - climate refugees move North (South in the Southern Hemisphere). (My personal expectation is a MINIMUM - 1.5-1.7 meters of sea level rise by 2100 but THAT does NOT stop for a thousand years)."

It already hits 130 deg in SAudi Arabia and daily temps of 110-115 are not unusual. I doubt it would get much hotter."

They can't grow their own food, so they'll be food for oil trade for centuries.

------




bjp:" It will mostly be poor people who starve... but some own weapons of mass destruction and they WILL be desperate... they WILL blame the USA. (with some reason I think)"

Heck, much of AFrica can do fine without us. The folks in Togo don't need your corn or your sheep wool or lamb. Most of the country is small time farming and rural villages.

In fact, the most backward countries, that haven't moved masses of people to the cities, will do better than those with gigantic cities like nigeria, Cairo Egypt and similar...

The 'poor' in Appalachia that grow their own veggies, beans and have their own chickens....will do better than the inner city hood in NYC when there are actual food shortages.

-----------



bjP:"History contains many ruins of civilizations that suffered some form of overshoot of their natural environment's resources of food and water."

And nearly all of them didn't have the technical ability to solve them. Like irrigation projects. like greenhouses and food storage. or in the case of Rome...over expansion of the 'empire' and wasting lots of energy making cement to make ever grander buildings. BUt even that 'collapse' took 300-400 years to happen in slow motion.

the world didn't end either.

--------

bjp:" What we are doing is different.......but even if we pulled back on our population and did not ever overshoot our current food production, we still wind up in overshoot when that production crashes back. "

LEt's see...we were going to run out of whale oil. We found substitutes. We were going to run out of this...and that...found substitutes.....ran out of natural rubber...so we invented man made rubber......then we invented all sorts of plastics and packaging and nylon and rayon and other stuff so we wouldn't run out of cotton to make clothes.

each year, we coax more and more food out of less and less land.

Why don't you think we are smart enough to continue the trend?

=======





bjp:"The water shortages, energy shortages and heat stress will put paid to the "green revolution" that was fueled by plenty of energy and water."

We'll just have to invent even more DROUGHT tolerant plants..we already got a bunch.....and many plants like warmer climates. Grow faster.....maybe we could get 3 crops a year instead of just 2?

-------



BJP:"- The most likely being the release of Carbon from the permafrost."


There ya go again......you don't have a clue as to whether that is 'the most likely' or even will happen, do you? Despite all your degrees.

--------




bjp:"We are pretty sure the Methane Hydrates will stay put"

No one knows for sure. and who is this 'we' bit?

-------

bjp:" What this adds for us is a fairly strong expectations that we are going to trigger some of these effects, making it harder to stabilize temperature."

YOu haven't included any bio-feedback mechanisms that could likely react to any increases and cause the planet to push itself back to equilibrium, right?

Maybe more rain...more cooling from precipitation? More green from the rain causing more growth taking more CO2 out of the atmosphere?

----------


bjp:" At 4 degrees the effort to not reach 5 will be more like a religious jihad."


probably not. It will be just like today, with folks worried about their country. SOme will be better off, some worse off. But I'm sure the welfare weenies will be pushing an agenda of more free candy, not drop the temps by 2 deg F.

-----

bjp:"Much of our infrastructure, much of our ENERGY infrastructure is located on coastlines and rivers to obtain cooling water."

So? rivers are hundreds or thousands of feet above sea level.

And most of the infrastructure on the sea has 50 year life or less. We routinely tear down one bulding and put up others. By the greenie plan, we'll be able to shut down most of them anyway in 60 years as solar panels sprout everywhere and the country has 5 million wind mills. High above sea level.

Yeah..the buggy whip factories and horseful carriage buildings were often replaced by auto factories and airplane factories - which built products.

You know, 120 years ago, the folks were predicting NYC would collapse and could not handle more people. OVer 10,000 people per night were employed to shovel the horse poop from the 1.5 million horse drawn carts. Even worse, they figured no one would be able to live there since the density was limited to five story buildings - above that, the brick buildings collapsed upon themselves and furthermore, folks weren't willing to climb 8 and 10 stories of steps. We invented steel frame buildings and passenger elevators......and the density of cities went up by 1000%.

Sorry, I don't buy your infrastructure argument. The average house has a useful life of less than 50 years. Business buildings probably 20-25 years. then a total knockdown or gutting of the building and redo.

-----



bjp:"Consider too what happened to our supply of disk drives with a single flood in Thailand... the rise and fall of water will become larger and some (much?) of our industry will be found to be more fragile than expected."

Silly mistake to locate the plant in flood plain area. Lesson learned. And, by the way, did you really feel inconvenienced by not having access to a disk drive that week? Did the world of computers come to an end?

--------



jbp:"We have been living a great economic lie by using money that does not represent work done, and when the energy disappears, an awful lot of our civilization goes with it."

That might be true, but that is a different issue than discussing temperature rise. Much different.

t.
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The embedded infrastructure and reduced land area, the unpredictability and the CUMULATIVE effect of these changes which are not what we have faced in the past. It is everything together. We might cope with one at a time. They are coming together.

The most important killer is the agricultural impact. Having enough water or then having too much water, to grow crops in the quantities that we are accustomed to do. Losing good lowland cropland that is the first thing to go underwater. Farms at higher elevation become correspondingly more valuable, but the soil there is not nearly as rich.

This is going to hammer India and China, and it isn't going to be cheap for the USA either.

There are two "certainties" that we can't innovate out of... we will still need a lot of energy to grow food, because that's what we have already built a big dependency on. You hark back to farming 101 and yeah... we've changed a lot since then, but always in the direction of using MORE fertilizer, pesticide and energy and we're going to have less of all of them.


The second is that we will have less water to work with when we try to grow a crop in India (where the meltwaters from the mountains will disappear) or China or the USA (which is still having a drought last I heard). GM can give us drought resistant crops but not enough for what is coming. We also don't have the water to Frack with. The energy supply equation changes even if you wanted to burn the hydrocarbons.

You make a second point about re-building/moving energy infrastructure, which I do not agree with. There are two issues here. The first is that the population distribution will be changing rapidly, with people moving into regions that are less impossible for humans to live in, abandoning cities with coastlines changing with sea level rise and all the rest that go with that. You dismissed this with the expected lifetime of a power plant. The failure is in the details.

Every part of the power grid changes.

Every water supply system.

Every sewage system and a lot of manufacturing capacity.

The power output for a given plant is reduced as the temperature of the cooling system goes up.

Massive amounts of housing built in vulnerable areas become useless.

Rails and Roads built close to the water get a bit TOO close to it. Routes between cities are disrupted... new infrastructure has to be built from scratch higher up,

It is not JUST the energy infrastructure, it is almost ALL infrastructure... in every country on the planet... all at the same time, and at the same time as people are going hungry.

__________________


We have a limited understanding of what will happen at 2 degrees. Bad but not fatal changes are expected. We have a much more complete understanding of plus 4. I think you mistake this, uncertainty at the two degree target is real enough, but at 4 there is common agreement that we have a far more certain negative outcome.

I understand this as an Engineering problem, but also as a gestalt. The energy deficits, sea level rises and infrastructure losses and costs represent an immense loss of capability and flexibility for our species. .. but it is not the individual problems. We could manage any single one of them. It is the problems coming together.

There isn't a rescue from any of the technologies you mention... there will be no country untouched by these events and able to help the others. The one technology that could work is unlikely as you didn't think of it and you are pretty bright, and not someone I regard as a fool.

_______________________

You are optimistic about the robustness of civilization.

Understandable, as we've never seen one collapse. Nobody living has. Even I have a hard time visualizing it on a nice spring day here.

Yet the model I carry around in my head (We all have one, some are more complex than others), of the planet and human civilization, its energy needs and its food consumption and all the rest doesn't leave so much room for disbelief. There is no certainty about which problem will take us down, but no question that we can fall and if we hit plus 4 degrees for any significant length of time, we will.


We are tightening the limits on ourselves much faster than any adaptation we can create can possibly work.

You can always find someone to doubt. The world is full of economists and other cornucopian followers. The scientists however, are really scared, and they have better models and better understanding of them than most of us. YMMV. I call it as I see it.
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the Club of Rome predicted the world would have collapsed

It didn't because we engineered a much bigger crop using energy based fertilizers and energy intensive farming... and that wasn't something the folks doing predictions figured on.

However, what we will have now is a lot LESS energy to spend on our food production and how will that play out. Your example is a good counterargument to your beliefs, and that is about where all your arguments sit.

And many other experts say it will be 2 deg or less,

What "many other experts" mate? Not a lot of science supporting that view. The curves to hold us under 2 degrees involve massive changes to our CO2 emissions... but none eventuate.

I doubt it would get much hotter.

Why?

they'll be food for oil trade for centuries.

Not likely. You'll have a lot of crow feathers on your plate.

So? rivers are hundreds or thousands of feet above sea level.

Two words. Floods, Temperatures.

It will be just like today

A double helping of feathers here.

Silly mistake to locate the plant in flood plain area. Lesson learned.

It is I think, still there. They've built a dike around the park. Part of the lesson is learned. It will go under again as the weather changes more.


BJ: when the energy disappears, an awful lot of our civilization goes with it.

T: that is a different issue than discussing temperature rise.


Not really. When the temperature has risen enough to prove who has been doing the lying there will NOT be any more patience with people who want to burn more hydrocarbons to get energy. The energy shortage will be a matter of allowable sources, and some of our current "best" sources will be off the menu. At that point every Green energy source we've built will be worth 100 times what it is today... and every erg of power precious.

We need a CO2 tax ... right now. Not tomorrow or next week. We need to put the price on the emissions that reflects the damage of a plus four world, Damage that can easily end our civilization and kill half the population.
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I realize that you have very firm convictions about this that are not going to be changed, so I don't want to drum this into the ground. But two minor points that might help you feel a little more optimistic:

You make a second point about re-building/moving energy infrastructure, which I do not agree with. There are two issues here. The first is that the population distribution will be changing rapidly, with people moving into regions that are less impossible for humans to live in, abandoning cities with coastlines changing with sea level rise and all the rest that go with that. You dismissed this with the expected lifetime of a power plant. The failure is in the details.

I think that you overlooked my major point - "rapidly" in this context isn't all that rapid in relationship to the useful life of almost everything in the city. Most (not all, but most) of a city has a useful life measured in a few decades, and the stuff that doesn't requires fairly significant investment in maintenance and repair to keep it going past that. Heck, populations are pretty mobile already, with massive shifts of population in even shorter time frames than sea level rise will occur in.

So if you told me we had to move almost all the population off the eastern seaboard to at least fifty miles inland (and probably more into the midwest), I would ask you how long we had. If you say two years, that's an impossibility. If you say thirty years, I'd say it would be pretty easy to manage.

You can always find someone to doubt. The world is full of economists and other cornucopian followers. The scientists however, are really scared, and they have better models and better understanding of them than most of us. YMMV. I call it as I see it.

Of course they're scared. There's enormous uncertainty involved in making major changes to the environment, and there will be negative impacts. But none of the official reports are coming anywhere close to predicting the type of collapse of human civilization that you treat as a near-certainty.

I suppose I'm also impacted by spending a fair amount of time looking at Peak Oil discussions, where you also had a cadre of scientists who were quite convinced that 'civilization' couldn't handle the horrible disruptions that would occur if oil prices were to ever go as high as, say, $60 per barrel. History may have some examples of civilizations that have disappeared, but it is also littered with examples of very smart people making dire predictions of how civilization will end that have all failed.

It's not cornucopian to recognize that our current practices aren't the only way of doing things, so that if we have to stop those practices to adapt to the climate we won't be doomed. Indeed, that's what underlies the effort to reduce emissions in the first place - understanding that just because we've done it one way for a long time doesn't mean it will be catastrophic to make very significant changes. These same scientists propose the complete restructuring of the entire energy sector of the world economy and major changes to the global international political framework, with the brunt of the impacts falling on several large-population nuclear powers (India and China) that rely on rapid internal growth to provide some measure of domestic stability over literally billions of people.

Albaby
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...other experts say it will be 2 deg or less,
---
What "many other experts" mate?


Here are some recent estimates in that range:

2010 Kohler et al. 2.4°C
2011 Schmittner et al. 2.4
2008 Chylek, Lohmann 1.8
2012 Gillett 1.6
2012 Lewis 1.3
2009 Douglas, Christy 1.1
2012 Asten 1.1
2011 Lindzen, Choi 0.7

DB2
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Human beings can physically live in temperatures that are 4 degrees higher than average temperatures in almost everywhere on the globe....In other words, how do you know 4 degree = the end of human civilization, while < 2 degrees would not?

BJ does not believe that the world will be wealthier in the future and be better able to cope with life. Some 1.2 billion people currently have no access to electricity, for example. Cheaper energy is the solution, not more expensive. Of course, one doesn't have to travel to the third world to see the effects of higher energy prices.

UK fuel poverty: Pensioners, kids to suffer as heating prices surge
http://rt.com/news/fuel-poverty-uk-rise-179/
Some 300,000 Brits had to choose between heat or food this Christmas season, while 9 million more are at risk of falling into 'fuel poverty' by 2016, a government advisory group has warned, calling on the PM for swift action.

If one is worried about the effects of AGW then the focus should be on research to lower the cost of low-carbon approaches, because the world will demand more energy at the lowest cost.

DB2
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If the agenda was to actually reduce CO2 emissions in a significant way, the major environmental organizations wouldn't ignore such a useful energy source that provides reliable 24/7 power.

Apparently the Kyoto Protocol does not allow the meeting of CO2 reduction commitments by substituting nuclear power.

“To recognise that Parties included in Annex I are to refrain from using certified emission reductions generated from nuclear facilities to meet their commitments under Article 3.1”
www.oecd-nea.org/ndd/reports/2002/nea3808-kyoto.pdf

DB2
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Here are some recent estimates in that range:

2010 Kohler et al. 2.4°C ...


DrBob, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think your list is estimated climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2, usually from preindustrial levels?

BJ, on the other hand, I think, is talking about estimated total warming warming, for which a goal of 2C or less has been set, but is looking unlikely given recent emission trends.
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DrBob, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think your list is estimated climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2, usually from preindustrial levels?

True. (FWIW, I consider the warming so far from the Little Ice Age as positive. I would not want to go back to pre-industrial CO2 levels if it meant going back to that climate.)

BJ, on the other hand, I think, is talking about estimated total warming warming, for which a goal of 2C or less has been set, but is looking unlikely given recent emission trends.

Looking back, it's not clear [and there are many posts to read in catching up]. Of course, looking more than a century into the future is, shall we say, iffy.

DB2
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There are 6 billion people in a highly complex barely feeding themselves dependency on agriculture, all evolved for the temperatures and rainfall patterns and weather patterns that prevailed over the past 10 millennia. A pretty limited range and it would be stretching it to say we're feeding everyone.

The total capacity of CURRENT world agriculture production is probably enough to feed world population 2-3 times over.
An enormous amount of calories which could be directly consumed by humans are fed to livestock, at a conversion ratio of 6-10 : 1.
That is, 6 calories of grain to produce 1 calorie of pork.
In the US and the EU, agricultural production is far below capacity, farmers often being paid to produce less and let farmland go fallow.
In other words, if food rationing is introduced, the US and the EU could probably survive on 15% or less of their current agricultural production capacity. There is a huge amount of built-in slack in our food supply.
Also, the US, the EU and other developed nations will be able to adapt to different weather conditions fairly easily (unless we experience rapid shifts occurring over a few years).
This does not apply to the developing world, however. +4 degrees Celsius will make a number of countries along the equator essentially uninhabitable. Productivity in developing countries which are already hot will decline, disease will flourish and agriculture will crater.
Hundreds of millions or even billions will die, but civilization as such is not threatened.
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Didn't think you were going to come over to my view either but there are a couple of points:

1. All the "ease" of doing things the way we do them now relies on cheap energy, and peak oil wasn't half the problem that being unwilling to burn fossil fuels (to make things worse) will turn into. Shipping costs will make local production a better idea (a good thing).

2. We've had some experience now with the second largest city in NZ getting whacked. That happened sudden (like about 20 seconds) but it is taking forever to handle the displacement/rebuilding and infrastructure.

I think you "misunderestimate" :-) the total difficulty of this movement of infrastructure of a city. Maybe I am overestimating it, but I do not think so. Build the roads, water supplies, sewage treatment, power generation, mass-transit. I might call it an opportunity, except if the energy to do it is in short supply the problem is much harder.

3. At the same time everyone has to move, everyone also has to find food and water.

I am still wondering if you've figured out what the escape clause is. The one technology that would enable us to NOT suffer and probably to escape many of the consequences of burning all the coal. Can't fix the acid ocean, but many of the other problems.

Scientists are poor judges of what Engineers can and will do. The "Rodney Dangerfield" profession IS ignored, and so mistakes are made. I am however, an engineer. I never expected society to "collapse" with $60 oil. Nor even with $180 oil. That ALONE is a bearable burden and we Frack for gas and move energy production to gas and coal and life goes on.

Putting a price on the CO2 emissions however, makes ALL of those sources expensive at once. Not expensive to supply, expensive to use. The relative costs of hydro, nuclear, wind, solar, biomass all start to look MUCH better, but the supply of those things is still very limited compared to the fossil fuel industry... because they have to be subsidized to match the subsidy handed the fossil fuel industry, of the uncosted disposal of waste.

If you live long enough you will get to see how Murphy combines the difficult bits to amplify the damage and break stuff. For I am a true believer in the God that all good Engineers properly fear - Murphy.
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If one is worried about the effects of AGW then the focus should be on research to lower the cost of low-carbon approaches, because the world will demand more energy at the lowest cost.

That research has no payoff and will not be done unless there is a price put on the CO2 now. That's the catch-22 problem. We have to raise the cost of the Carbon Emitting technology we are using, and make it clear that that cost is going to rise further... THEN the market will notice and take action. Not before. Not in any way will it do anything unless it feels the pain... it is an invisible HAND. It hasn't got eyes, brains or foresight.
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1. All the "ease" of doing things the way we do them now relies on cheap energy, and peak oil wasn't half the problem that being unwilling to burn fossil fuels (to make things worse) will turn into. Shipping costs will make local production a better idea (a good thing).

You've raised this point a few times, but I don't understand it. It seems to presume that as climate effects become more apparent, we will abruptly stop using fossil fuels, and this will lead to the collapse of civilization. But if the latter is true, the former won't happen. I don't see people voluntarily agreeing (or demanding) that we stop using fossil fuel energy if it would result in the end of human civilization.

2. We've had some experience now with the second largest city in NZ getting whacked. That happened sudden (like about 20 seconds) but it is taking forever to handle the displacement/rebuilding and infrastructure.

I think you "misunderestimate" :-) the total difficulty of this movement of infrastructure of a city. Maybe I am overestimating it, but I do not think so. Build the roads, water supplies, sewage treatment, power generation, mass-transit. I might call it an opportunity, except if the energy to do it is in short supply the problem is much harder.


It's hard to do it quickly. It's easy to do it over the span of decades. You just stop building new and replacement infrastructure in the old place, and build it instead in the new place. We constantly "move" vast numbers of people that way on a regular basis - witness the vast shift of population out of cities like Detroit, Cleveland, and Buffalo - without making much of an effort at all. We just stop building new homes and infrastructure, and stop rebuilding those things, in areas that are at risk, and start taking those resources and investing them in other areas. We just stop moving into those areas. If you've got a few decades and economic incentives are working with you (which they will, as banks and businesses decide not to invest in coastal high-hazard areas) it's pretty simple to "move" large numbers of cities - the same way we "moved" Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo to Dallas, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio.

Remember - around 40% of the people who would otherwise live in coastal areas of the U.S. in thirty years have not even been born yet. So if that's your time frame, you don't need to move those people - they just don't go into the coastal cities in the first place. As (or if, for those who are skeptical about the degree of impacts) things deteriorate for coastal areas, there will be fewer and fewer opportunities and incentives to move to those areas - and corresponding population loss by people simply choosing to start their adult lives elsewhere.

3. At the same time everyone has to move, everyone also has to find food and water.

Again, not much of a problem over these time frames. Again, if you visualize large groups of itinerant refugees leaving one city to travel to another, you got the wrong image. Instead, just think of large numbers of individual choices about where to live and invest just directing them to go elsewhere than the coastal hazard areas. A young man graduating college chooses to move to Oklahoma City (which is growing rapidly) instead of Baltimore (which is not). A business chooses to start up in Memphis rather than in Philadelphia. That gets repeated over and over again, so you have more grocery stores getting built in OKC and Memphis - and expansion of their water and sewer systems as they grow. No problem - or rather, no greater problem than if all those people had decided to put down roots in Baltimore or Philly.

I am still wondering if you've figured out what the escape clause is. The one technology that would enable us to NOT suffer and probably to escape many of the consequences of burning all the coal. Can't fix the acid ocean, but many of the other problems.

Nope - you've alluded to it a few times, but I don't know what you're referring to.

Albaby
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I don't see people voluntarily agreeing (or demanding) that we stop using fossil fuel energy if it would result in the end of human civilization.

We are not talking about a conscious decision to make THAT choice... the dynamic is more religious than logical, think about the "Tea Party" mob and their attitude to taxes and the "end human civilization" denouement won't be obvious before it happens. The breakdown of the interlocking systems that makes it all go is more subtle.

As we both know, we aren't going to agree, but to close this on a positive note.

The "escape clause" is "Cheap Access To Space". It solves both the energy and the temperature/climate problems. It gives us control of the thermostat... for the planet. Begs the question of who decides where its set and how its used, but it changes the game entirely.

I think we can agree to disagree. I am very sure that plus 4 is almost certain to bring an end to civilization... pockets may survive but the global system will not. You believe that it will be more resilient to the multiple stresses placed on it. Be nice if I could know how it all comes out for my children's children.
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bjp:"Didn't think you were going to come over to my view either but there are a couple of points:

1. All the "ease" of doing things the way we do them now relies on cheap energy, and peak oil wasn't half the problem that being unwilling to burn fossil fuels (to make things worse) will turn into. Shipping costs will make local production a better idea (a good thing)."


There ya go again. You keep using 'straight line' thinking. The folks in NYC had no clue how to keep the 1.5 million horses and their poop from ruining the city. It was an invention, well, several of them, that solved the problem. The subway system, using electricity, generated by coal, replaced the coal fired steam engines that ran on the 'el' and the trains were run underground, and converted to electricity above ground. Shortly after, the invention of the IC engine solved the ground transport problem.

Before that, up to 25% of all the land in the US was used to raise food for the horses to farm the land, and feed the transportation horses in the cities!....

Energy at $300/bbl will still be 'cheap' given the amount of work it does. We'll just learn to use it more and more efficiently. Rail is 10x better than truck, for example. Barge is like 20x better.

-------



bjp:"2. We've had some experience now with the second largest city in NZ getting whacked. That happened sudden (like about 20 seconds) but it is taking forever to handle the displacement/rebuilding and infrastructure."

Yeah..when you choose to live on volcanic islands with active volcanoes, that's what you get. Sort of like building cities right next to the ports and not too far above sea level, right?

So you are rebuilding infrastructure poorly built, or likely in many cases, knocking down old energy wasting structures and installing better ones.

My great grandfather and his family lived in Johnstown ...where they had the big great flood that killed thousands..... it took 10 years to rebuild that down. My grandparents then moved to NY City.


--------

bjp:"I think you "misunderestimate" :-) the total difficulty of this movement of infrastructure of a city. Maybe I am overestimating it, but I do not think so. Build the roads, water supplies, sewage treatment, power generation, mass-transit. I might call it an opportunity, except if the energy to do it is in short supply the problem is much harder."

Heck, when the shirt factories and textile industry left the Hudson/Mohawk valley in the 1930s/40s and moved to the south of the country for less expensive labor, cities like Troy and Gloversville saw gigantic population declines. In the 20s and 30s, TRoy had 11 breweries and 10 movie theaters. By the 1960s, it had 2 movie theaters and the last brewery was shutting down.

That all happened in less than 20 years.......

Many cities have lost half their populations. Just look to Detroit MI.....a mere shadow of what it was. More than half the population gone. Left. Houses abandoned by the thousands.

------



bjp:"3. At the same time everyone has to move, everyone also has to find food and water."

Oh. wow...if you do it over two decades, no sweat. Your 'sea level' rise phobia takes place over 90 years.......and not every one lives 2 feet above sea level.

You've got people living 17 feet below sea level in New Orleans......NOW...


-------


bjp:"I am still wondering if you've figured out what the escape clause is. The one technology that would enable us to NOT suffer and probably to escape many of the consequences of burning all the coal. Can't fix the acid ocean, but many of the other problems."

HOw about we build canals to the Dead Sea, to the Quattara depression in Africa.....and maybe to other areas way under sea level and drop the level of the sea by a couple of inches?

-------


bjp:"Putting a price on the CO2 emissions however, makes ALL of those sources expensive at once. Not expensive to supply, expensive to use. The relative costs of hydro, nuclear, wind, solar, biomass all start to look MUCH better, but the supply of those things is still very limited compared to the fossil fuel industry... because they have to be subsidized to match the subsidy handed the fossil fuel industry, of the uncosted disposal of waste."

How about a price on dead birds from windmills? All you want to do is collect trillions in carbon taxes and slosh it out to favored groups who use it INEFFICIENTLY.

The end game of your game is to go broke buying 'alternative energy' that doesn't exist in the amount we need and never will.....

--------


t
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The "escape clause" is "Cheap Access To Space". It solves both the energy and the temperature/climate problems. It gives us control of the thermostat... for the planet. Begs the question of who decides where its set and how its used, but it changes the game entirely.

What is "Cheap Access to Space," and how would it help address energy and climate problems?

Albaby
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You keep using 'straight line' thinking. The folks in NYC had no clue how to keep the 1.5 million horses and their poop from ruining the city. It was an invention,

You keep forgetting to count the energy.
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Cheap means we can go up there for a lot less money and build things up there...

Things like

Big mirrors... reducing insolation thus countering the increased retention of energy at the surface.

Satellite Solar Power Systems - 24/7 power, no cloudy days. Microwave power transmission to the surface.

The ocean gets more acidic but if we have the energy we can probably solve that one over some time... ocean chemistry isn't my strong suit...

What good is having a fusion generator if you aren't going to collect the output?
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Cheap means we can go up there for a lot less money and build things up there...

But could space travel ever be "cheap" enough to make those things economically feasible, rather than simply technically feasible?

If you're wishing for things, I think you'd be better off wishing for Cheap Batteries, rather than Cheap Access to Space. It's far more likely to happen (though it's of course possible that neither would ever happen), and it has a more direct impact on the problem.

Albaby
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"You keep forgetting to count the energy. "



The peak of US oil production was 1971.........and it looked dire....then the middle east fields starting producing prodigous amounts of oil. We built the Alaskan pipeline to bring 15 billion barrels of oil south, and the oil flow continues. Probably a lot more there if the greenies got out of the way.

Then we found deep sea oil......and sub-salt oil.....now there his shale oil from 10 major fields around the US, and who knows how much around the world.

Yes, energy is becoming more expensive, but when you figure that a barrel of oil will do more than an army of 500 servants at your beck and call 24/7, plus you don't have to feed them or house them, it's still a bargain.

Who knows? Maybe in 50 years we'll have fusion power? Or get around to building 200 breeder reactors or thorium reactors.

Maybe we'll figure out how to cost effectively do geothermal? On a mass scale.......

For 100 years, folks have been wrong with their 'straight line' thinking on oil production.

We were going to run out in 1870s...and at least 10 times since.....but technology freed up more and more oil.

Are we headed to 'peak oil production'? Not for a long time. Are we headed to 'the end of cheap oi'? Maybe so.

I see more of a possibility of the "Long Emergency" than I do the 'Die Off' scenario.


t.
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But could space travel ever be "cheap" enough to make those things economically feasible, rather than simply technically feasible?

Yes. The methods of doing this are pretty well known to engineers, and while they involve some heavy up-front costs though... after that it becomes "cheap as chips". The ones I favor involve using a loop accelerator in orbit with aircraft based insertion. The accelerations are gentle.

I also wish for cheap batteries, but they don't do quite as much for the human race, and I do not agree that their impact is more direct.

If we have the batteries we STILL have to have a tax to get the coal plants shut down and we STILL have political resistance and imbeciles who think nothing bad is happening. If we can build stuff up there we can reverse warming MUCH faster than we can get CO2 out of the air, and control the temperature of the planet in spite of the idiots.

It is the technology we HAVE to have given the fact that we are governing ourselves so badly. Fortunately it requires no new discoveries, no breakthroughs in materials. All it really requires is engineering and the will (money) to do it. We already know how.

From orbit we learn how to live in space. Closed environmental systems that recycle waste and water (using energy and biologicals) and release us from the close leash to the planet earth that our dependence on it for food and water places on us.

There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. Stephen Hawking
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This isn't about "running out" of oil, or coal, or unnatural gas. Nor of the efforts made to discover more such things in ever more difficult and dangerous places to get it from. This is about running out habitable planet as a result of the WASTE from burning those resources.

Now count up all the places that are doing the burning. Shut them down and tell me where the energy comes from.

We don't have fusion. At the rate we are going we might have it by the end of the century. It requires a breakthrough we CAN NOT predict. I am sure that if we survive long enough we will get it... but we don't have forever any more.

We can't build fission plants fast enough to replace the hydrocarbons either. Not unless someone does a big number on the heads of the fossil fuel industry and starts something like a war effort to build the things.

You are predicating the survival of civilization on discoveries that MAY NOT come in time. My God is Murphy. His tools are disorganization, confusion and human idiocy. He can be beaten, but not by an optimist.
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Yes. The methods of doing this are pretty well known to engineers, and while they involve some heavy up-front costs though... after that it becomes "cheap as chips". The ones I favor involve using a loop accelerator in orbit with aircraft based insertion. The accelerations are gentle.

But that doesn't really answer the question. Obviously the heavy up-front costs aren't "cheap" if "cheap access to space" is something we're still waiting for. Lots of things have high fixed cost/low variable cost structures, but that doesn't make them cheap.

Maybe I'm not understanding what you're talking about. Is it something like this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Launch_loop

....or something different?

I also wish for cheap batteries, but they don't do quite as much for the human race, and I do not agree that their impact is more direct.

If we have the batteries we STILL have to have a tax to get the coal plants shut down and we STILL have political resistance and imbeciles who think nothing bad is happening. If we can build stuff up there we can reverse warming MUCH faster than we can get CO2 out of the air, and control the temperature of the planet in spite of the idiots.


I don't understand this - Cheap Access to Space is just another way to get renewable power. Why not just wish for cheaper renewable alternatives to fossil fuel power, of which cheaper batteries are an important part? You don't need to have a tax to shut down the coal plants if you can provide a truly cheaper alternative - look at the seismic change in fuel choices evident in the United States as our electrical generation switches from coal to natgas.

Or am I missing something else?

Albaby
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Like but not like. All the stuff that is moving is in space, in vacuum, and not dependent/threatened by stability problems that the Lofstrom arrangement has to be concerned with. A "Partial Orbital Ring" system would be the best bet... overall cost up front would be some tens of billions of dollars. A ground based mass driver to pump raw materials up to build it. We'd have to allow some 10 years or so to build the system... after that we'd be paying maybe 25 cents a kilogram to put stuff in orbit? Cheap enough?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_ring

Not just cheaper power. Put a mirror between the planet and the Sun. Less Insolation, less warming due to CO2. You get control of the thermostat, not just power. Which means that as stupid as we are, we COULD conceivably retrieve the situation long after merely slowing down the CO2 emissions is no longer a means of doing so. More reversible and safer than pumping megatons of particulates into the air to accomplish the same.
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Like but not like. All the stuff that is moving is in space, in vacuum, and not dependent/threatened by stability problems that the Lofstrom arrangement has to be concerned with. A "Partial Orbital Ring" system would be the best bet... overall cost up front would be some tens of billions of dollars. A ground based mass driver to pump raw materials up to build it. We'd have to allow some 10 years or so to build the system... after that we'd be paying maybe 25 cents a kilogram to put stuff in orbit? Cheap enough?

I'm afraid I don't understand how something like that could possibly be constructed for only tens of billions of dollars. The Big Dig cost $22 billion, and you're talking about an engineered object in orbit that is thousands and thousands of miles long. Nor do I understand how you could have a 'partial' orbital ring - do you have a link to anything that actually is what you're thinking of?

Not just cheaper power. Put a mirror between the planet and the Sun. Less Insolation, less warming due to CO2. You get control of the thermostat, not just power. Which means that as stupid as we are, we COULD conceivably retrieve the situation long after merely slowing down the CO2 emissions is no longer a means of doing so. More reversible and safer than pumping megatons of particulates into the air to accomplish the same.

For pete's sake - have you thought about big a mirror would that be to have any material effect on the insolation of the earth? The planet presents about 250 million square kilometers of surface area to the sun at any given time. The moon only presents an umbral diameter on the earth of about 160 km. A single square mile of 3/16 inch glass would weigh close to 160 million kilos.

Albaby
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The only thing connecting each segment of the ring is a laser positioning system. The segments each provide their electromagnetic push and do their own repositioning to keep the "ring" segment linear. Hmmm.... think of a bunch of hula hoops hanging from the ceiling. Now give them a laser alignment system so they LOOK like a tunnel. Put a whacking big electromagnet in each one so that it does linear acceleration of a magnetic disk that gets shot into the front of it. The magnetic disk comes out the other end at some velocity and each of the rings gets pushed backwards a bit.

OK... now take away the ceiling and put the hula-hoops in orbit. THEY are now moving at some 7 KM/Second. They are still aligned and there are a lot of them. Powered by ion thrusters and electricity collected in orbit, refueled with reaction mass regularly, aligned with lasers and computers (think about how GRACE works). All you need to do is put a "disk" in front of the thing at apogee.. the magnetic fields grab it, and at the other end it comes out at orbital speed, just behind the rings, while each individual ring has slowed down a bit.

As the object moves through the accelerator it does a bit of a slinky routine as it transfers energy to the object.

It also works in reverse, slowing things at orbital velocity to more reasonable speeds, to be dropped back into the atmosphere. This adds energy to the rings.

An interesting read IFF you are able to tolerate Science Fiction (I love the stuff)... is this

http://www.amazon.com/The-Moon-Goddess-Donald-Kingsbury/dp/0...

Nominated for a Hugo and I've had mine long enough that the cover art has changed a lot. I like mine better :-)

Kingsbury teamed with Arnold to write it up in a non-fiction form as well.

The advantages... building it in pieces, it being mostly empty space, not doing the hard work (acceleration) in atmosphere, are all pretty telling. The other advantage, that it has no maintenance hangups or ability to release massive amounts of energy if something breaks... makes it much more attractive than the other forms I've seen. No need for specialist carbon nanotube materials we don't understand yet. Not real vulnerable to junk hitting it... a lot of things going for it in terms of "buildability", maintainability and safety.

I think (mostly guessing) that it could be done around the 100 billion mark, assuming bootstrapping and not counting a shorter mass driver to put raw materials in orbit to be worked with/on... we could do it with the tech base we have right now today. Which makes Kingsbury one prescient SOB.

We aren't doing anything like it though, because NASA is getting privatized. The Chinese don't think like this. The Russians are following NASA and the project is too big for any corporation.

Sequencing...

Orbital Workstations - machine shop and construction bases launched conventionally and constructed the hard way...

The mass driver built on the ground at the same time. The mass driver puts the steel and other materials in orbit for the workstations. Much of the work is done in space.

Space "tugs" built in orbit for use in orbit.

The Workstations build the rings.

The tugs put them in place.

Possibly some rings are sent to the moon. A lunar "ring" would be shorter and lunar material easier to get than earth material. Maybe.

Build the power station for the rings.

You're done... as we already have air launch capability able to push things out of the atmosphere.

Not one of these steps requires a breakthrough, requires something we haven't done before, or requires some impossibly large structure to be built. Each individual ring is a manageable, testable and repairable system, and they aren't "fragile" like most stuff in space is today.

I think about the Lofstrom loop and as an engineer it gives me f**king hives.
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I think (mostly guessing) that it could be done around the 100 billion mark, assuming bootstrapping and not counting a shorter mass driver to put raw materials in orbit to be worked with/on... we could do it with the tech base we have right now today. Which makes Kingsbury one prescient SOB.

I think I understand the concept now. I love science fiction as much as the next person....but I think that you're still ridiculously understating the cost of doing something like this. You don't describe the size of these orbital structures, but to put it in context the ISS cost about $150 billion in current dollars to build and operate for a decade - and it's the approximate size of an airplane or two (apart from the solar arrays). That was done with older than current tech, but that doesn't make it cheap. (BTW, nor do I think that for $.25/kg you can even move payload to above the upper atmosphere to reach this thing, much less whatever incremental costs follow from there).

How big would these rings be? Again, the ISS is pretty much a hollow tube with solar panels, and weighs a little less than 1M lbs. Taking the ISS modules and making them into a ring would give you a diameter of about 50 feet. Just lifting the mass of a ring that size into orbit would cost about $3 billion at commercial prices. So once you get into a few dozen of those very tiny rings, just the cost of lifting the mass into space is going to exceed your budget - let alone the cost of constructing them on earth or assembling or operating them in space.

And again, none of this is going to make mirrors a feasible solution for halting climate change. The only place you could practically put such a mirror (or mirrors) is out at L1, which isn't all that far away. That makes it easy to get matter to, but because it's relatively close to earth, you need an enormous object to reflect any appreciable amount of radiation away. The cross section of the earth is about 130M km2; even a perfect reflector would need to be just under 1.3M km2 to push back 1% of solar radiation (which is what you would need) - a mirror more than twice the size of the state of Texas. You'd probably just use smaller mirrors - hundreds of billions of them, since even a m2 size mirror would require 1.3 trillion to cover that area. And since L1 isn't a stable Lagrange point, each of those mirrors would have to have electronics and orbital stabilizers to hold position.

Albaby
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You're probably right... it'll be more like 4 ISS in cost over 10 years.

After which cost to orbit goes down to what it costs you to travel to DC from NYC.

The only place you could practically put such a mirror (or mirrors) is out at L1

Not actually true. Can be put (if appropriately tethered and balanced) almost anywhere on that line because it is going to also be a hell of a solar sail. Solar gravity balanced against the thrust generated, and the whole thing tacks around the Sun just fast enough. The mirror is controlled and has a crew. Build another and you have an interplanetary spaceship good for anywhere in the inner solar system.

:-)

I didn't figure to put most of the mass up there using conventional means, and I did say that I wasn't counting the cost of the terrestrial mass driver, but reviewing what Arnold came up with I might be wrong.

Arnold was looking at stacking 100 rings around a fuel tank and launching them unmanned. I think he's right. The rings are 10 meters apart 14 meters inner diameter and the payloads are 10 meters in diameter. Using that method with no crew or life support and the fuel tank staying in orbit... looks to be cheaper.

You can have all the rings up there in 100 launches. Fit the rectennae and position them ... not all that nasty a problem.

A lunar mass driver could put objects up where it they could be used for stuff-all in terms of cost. I'm not in this game now... and its been a dozen years since I read and understood it but the vision that Capitalism or old age has robbed the USA of, still exists.

The stations where detail work is done are not brand new in every way. We know how to do a lot of it now so one-off engineering design costs will be fewer and those stations will be cheaper to build.

We've learned a lot in the building of the ISS and now we have to apply that knowledge.
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You're probably right... it'll be more like 4 ISS in cost over 10 years.

After which cost to orbit goes down to what it costs you to travel to DC from NYC.


Well, I doubt that. To get to these rings, you're talking about sub-orbital spaceflight - not the 30,000 feet cruising altitude of a commercial airliner. I did a quick google on the question, and here's one study that puts the rough cost of suborbital reusable vehicle (SRV) payloads at around $500 per kg:

http://www.spaceflorida.gov/docs/misc/srvs-10-year-forecast-...

That's to get to the rings - whatever your operating costs to move cargo out of the SRV's and launch would be on top of that. Obviously that cost will come down over time, but not to approach the cost of ordinary air travel.

Not actually true. Can be put (if appropriately tethered and balanced) almost anywhere on that line because it is going to also be a hell of a solar sail. Solar gravity balanced against the thrust generated, and the whole thing tacks around the Sun just fast enough. The mirror is controlled and has a crew. Build another and you have an interplanetary spaceship good for anywhere in the inner solar system.

Fair enough, but that just makes it worse. Again, the closer the mirror to the earth, the bigger it needs to be to block a given amount of solar radiation. A permanently manned station has to be closer to earth than L1. You're never going to be able to build anything big enough to matter, even with a partial orbital ring.

A lunar mass driver could put objects up where it they could be used for stuff-all in terms of cost. I'm not in this game now... and its been a dozen years since I read and understood it but the vision that Capitalism or old age has robbed the USA of, still exists.

The stations where detail work is done are not brand new in every way. We know how to do a lot of it now so one-off engineering design costs will be fewer and those stations will be cheaper to build.

We've learned a lot in the building of the ISS and now we have to apply that knowledge.


It's not just a question of whether we can do it - it's a question of whether it's smart to do it. We already know how to put objects into space, and existing methods have a fairly well-established cost. Whether the cost of putting literally tens of thousands of rings (and putting solar antennae onto each and everyone of them, individually, in orbit) is lower than that when amortized over the likely amount of cargo that would pass through it is the really critical question.

Albaby
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Fair enough, but that just makes it worse.

No... thats the wrong sign on the direction the mirror was moved. It is balanced against solar gravitation by the thrust of the solar wind, and the "keel" hangs sunward, not earthward. It is between L1 and the Sun, not L1 and the Earth. CAN put it between L1 and Earth if you want, but the cables stretch through L1 and are a lot longer.

A permanently manned station has to be closer to earth than L1

Don't know why. It isn't so much a station as a sailing ship, and it can be replaced by another like it until the CO2 levels are back under control (due to Satellite Solar power shutting down Coal plants).

The cost of suborbital has been declining steadily and my expectations of the engine designers have not been disappointed. Their latest...

http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/news_updates.html

If their notional spaceplane were to work the orbital ring would be unnecessary. Maybe. I am not counting on that development.

Using their engines as currently designed and a NON-space qualified first stage as high and fast as we can CHEAPLY go makes sense (to me), but 5-8x sound is sufficient as a booster and the rest is more cheaply done with the accelerator and the re-usable rocket/disk saucers that it accelerates. They'll be about 300 km up on ballistics just from that boost and the altitude of release. Tauri group is doing estimates based on space "tourism" economics and numbers, using tech that isn't all that cheap and uses solely rocket propulsion, sometimes multi-staged. This works differently, and it isn't for sightseeing.

"Well established costs" are not out of our reach. The benefits are cargo and people going to and from space at much much lower costs, which gives us the ability to build solar sail/mirror ships and avert climate disaster. It gives us satellite solar power stations to provide the energy we need, the resources of the Asteroid belt and the Moon, and much more. It changes us from a planet bound species to a spacefaring species, and gives us a shot at surviving longer than the planet that gave us birth. Amortized over 100 years or so? What is the lifespan of a MAINTAINED infrastructure in space?
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"Well established costs" are not out of our reach. The benefits are cargo and people going to and from space at much much lower costs, which gives us the ability to build solar sail/mirror ships and avert climate disaster. It gives us satellite solar power stations to provide the energy we need, the resources of the Asteroid belt and the Moon, and much more. It changes us from a planet bound species to a spacefaring species, and gives us a shot at surviving longer than the planet that gave us birth. Amortized over 100 years or so? What is the lifespan of a MAINTAINED infrastructure in space?

Probably pretty low. Space is a fairly hostile place, with micro debris and intense solar radiation taking it's toll. This is well outside my area of professional expertise (being a lawyer and all), but no less an authority than WIKIPEDIA (obvious sarcasm) notes for the space-based solar power proposals that a low useful life caused by that environment is one of the significant economic obstacles:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space-based_solar_power

But I note that even with maintenance, there are precious few mechanical devices on Earth that have a useful life of a century. And that's where maintenance is relatively simple - maintenance in space is enormously costly.

Nor do I think you've established that this system would give you cargo and people going to and from space at much lower costs. That's because the orbital ring is in space! At best, it moves things from Low Earth Orbit to other parts of space - but you still need to get things into Low Earth Orbit in the first place. And there's nothing with existing technology that would enable us to do that - certainly not at the prices you're talking about.

Albaby
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The lifetime of 'things' in space is measured in years. You have temperature swings of -300 to plus 250 degrees. Metal fatigues. Electronics get bombarded by radiation and eventually succumb to it.

You have micro particle hits by the millions - moving at 20K mph or more. The more area, the more damage.

Moving joints crap out. Lubrication is a major problem. All the rotating joints fail after a few years even with the 'best technology' and 'best lubrication' methods.

You'd also have to consider the threat from terrorism. Put up a trillion dollar space ring....and some terrorists with a ten million dollar rocket could blow it to kingdom come with simple technology.

Someone like a North Korea in 20 years.......they likely would not be benefiting from it....




t.
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"At best, it moves things from Low Earth Orbit to other parts of space"

No ... It takes (essentially) any magnetized object that you toss up into its path, ( all that object has to do is reach Altitude... NOT velocity) and accelerates it into LEO. Once in LEO you are halfway to the stars. It is the biggest and most difficult step.

Things build for space up to now have been pretty fragile. Using objects that have significant mass is a no-no. So we use solar cells rather than full on reflectors and thermal systems. Solar cell output degrades over time in any case. A thermal power system in space is a different sort of beast (cold reservoir is deep space IR radiation). Either way is not much of an issue. The moon is made of a fairly good material for making a fair lot of glass, mirror or chips.

The object hazard is real enough, although at the positions that I imagine the solar power Sats will occupy, not so much of one. Again, these objects are NOT unpowered. They experience considerable thrust and aren't constrained to GEO to remain useful as plans commonly include relay satellites to keep the power beams tight.

There are NOT any show stoppers in this. There is only an unwillingness to put an effort into it because it isn't really research and it isn't really amenable to free-market capitalism. That's why I reckon it won't happen in time. It isn't a matter of technical problems, it is a matter of understanding that we have to.

Stephen Hawking says we have to. Good enough for me.
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Metal fatigue applies to Aluminium mate. Not to steel. Electronics are replaceable, and shieldable (takes mass to do that), and we're up THERE doing this, remember? Micro particles are not so common and in the mid orbitals between LEO and GEO, pretty sparse indeed.

Moving points require regular lubrication. Again, there are people and 'bots up there to do stuff like that. I understand about the problems of lubrication in space mate. Spent a good summer understanding what works and what doesn't.

The principle problem with the stuff we put up there now is that we expect it to work without maintenance and you change the oil in your car WAY more often than someone services the average satellite. Nothing up there is pressurized except in the ISS, so it is ALL exposed to vacuum.

If CAN you service the machinery you there are lubricants that tolerate vacuum better than your average grease and keep things working.

Harder to shoot it down than for it to shoot down... it takes more than a simple terrorist to build a rocket that can destroy it... and once we have the infrastructure in place and have built the first we can build the second and third more easily.
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bjp;'"Metal fatigue applies to Aluminium mate. Not to steel. "

Ha...you have bolts and welds.....and of course, if you remember your science, you drop a wrench up in AK at 80 below zero and it will shatter.....gone.....in pieces.....and you have thermal cycles that degrade things. And what do you think most satellites are made of? Aluminum.....and other light weight materials. Steel only used for pressure vessels like holding fuels and oxygen.

------



bjP:"Electronics are replaceable,"

Yeah..if you don't mind having 50 astronauts constantly replacing things.....as they go bad.....on 50,000 miles of your loop system...

-------



bjp:" and we're up THERE doing this, remember?"

Yeah...electronics and computers on the space station last about 2 years before they crap out. Solar panels have been replaced a few times and the rotating joints are always going bad.

We keep sending up replacement parts by the ton, and that is only for a two bus sized 'station'....

Most satellites last about 7-10 years before they are replaced. AFter ten years, they really start to degrade.

------



bjp:" Micro particles are not so common and in the mid orbitals between LEO and GEO, pretty sparse indeed."

Yep, the figured it was a 1 in five million chance that Iridium satellites would collide with anything.

Well, they did...wiped one out..in the 'mid orbital' range.....now the odds are 1 in 5000 they figure.....of another collision and wipe out.

there's a ton of space junk out there...well, hundreds of tons of space junk..

------



bjp:"Moving points require regular lubrication. Again, there are people and 'bots up there to do stuff like that. I understand about the problems of lubrication in space mate. Spent a good summer understanding what works and what doesn't."

Did you also learn that the joints fail every two years and they replace them? and that there is no lubricant that solves that problem otherwise they'd be using it?


-------



bjp:"The principle problem with the stuff we put up there now is that we expect it to work without maintenance and you change the oil in your car WAY more often than someone services the average satellite. Nothing up there is pressurized except in the ISS, so it is ALL exposed to vacuum."

No one 'services' satellites. The only one we have fixed was the Hubble Space Telescope (twice).....and probably one or two spy satellites were fixed....


when one craps out, we launch another one, and critical applications have a 'spare in orbit' all the time....like Iridium...



-------



bjp:"If CAN you service the machinery you there are lubricants that tolerate vacuum better than your average grease and keep things working"

Then why does the rotating joints for the solar panels on the ISS keep crapping out?

-----

.

bjp:"Harder to shoot it down than for it to shoot down... it takes more than a simple terrorist to build a rocket that can destroy it... and once we have the infrastructure in place and have built the first we can build the second and third more easily. "

Ha....a 100 million of oil money to North Korea to buy a few launch vehicles.......or maybe some terrorists get their hands on some Ruskie cold war submarine launch missiles?

The Chinese have already shot down satellites....

------

As long as there are enemies of the US, it would be like painting a giant target up there...... a 100 billion or 250 billion target to be 'brought down'....or destroyed.


t.
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No ... It takes (essentially) any magnetized object that you toss up into its path, ( all that object has to do is reach Altitude... NOT velocity) and accelerates it into LEO. Once in LEO you are halfway to the stars. It is the biggest and most difficult step.

I don't think that's right, because getting things to altitude is pretty difficult. Remember, the orbital ring will be in LEO. So that means that in order to get something into the partial orbital ring, you have to get it into altitude with enough velocity that it can line up with the opening of the orbital ring. That's pretty difficult to do economically with anything we have today - even a suborbital reusable vehicle is looking at about $1K per pound to just get above the mesosphere, and that's only about 2/3 of the way up to where the orbital ring would be in LEO.

In other words, you need pretty much the same launch vehicle to get something to this orbital ring that you would need to put it into orbit in the first place. You haven't addressed the issue of cheap access to space at all; you've addressed the ability to get 'cheap' acceleration once you're already in space.

There are NOT any show stoppers in this. There is only an unwillingness to put an effort into it because it isn't really research and it isn't really amenable to free-market capitalism. That's why I reckon it won't happen in time. It isn't a matter of technical problems, it is a matter of understanding that we have to.

There are show stoppers - there's the simple fact that doing anything on the scale you're talking about is enormously expensive. So there's the very basic question of whether it's worth it to bother with the intermediate step of a partial orbital ring rather than just use 'conventional' launch vehicles, which can put mass into any earth orbit directly at a cost of between $3-5K per pound.

Albaby
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We use Aluminium because we can'd afford to push the mass... and if you "drop" your wrench in zero-G it isn't going anywhere... and finally, we have tools that work up there. We already know how to make them work. So this point of yours is wrong. You are GOOD at being plausible but wrong.




bjP:"Electronics are replaceable,"

Yeah..if you don't mind having 50 astronauts constantly replacing things.....as they go bad.....on 50,000 miles of your loop system...


What 50000 miles? I am trying to imagine where you got that figure but can't. The partial loop is 150 KM long. The Leoport is in LEO not somewhere outside the geomagnetic protection of the planet. The electronics don't die that easily and once you've built the thing you can shield them with the something substantial in any case. So far you are telling us you don't want to try anything other than burning hydrocarbons and fracking the planet.


Did you also learn that the joints fail every two years and they replace them? and that there is no lubricant that solves that problem otherwise they'd be using it?

No, because whatever source of misinformation you are using, this bit is not true. Are you discussing the SARJ or something else?

Iridium collision:

Iridium is still in LEO at 485 km, and as that is a sort of optimum (inside the geomagnetic field but out of much more of the atmosphere) altitude for our current tech, it is the most hazardous orbit for junk. It isn't where the Leoport goes (that's lower) or where the SSPS goes (much higher).

No one 'services' satellites.
...because it is hard to put someone up there to do it and the satellites aren't designed for it. When we have a real presence up there, a working presence and cheap access, there is no real problem going up to the satellite, pulling it into a workship and overhauling the thing.

Then why does the rotating joints for the solar panels on the ISS keep crapping out?

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/2010000...

Wasn't built quite right. Also that's not a "simple" joint.

As long as there are enemies of the US, it would be like painting a giant target up there...... a 100 billion or 250 billion target to be 'brought down'....or destroyed.

An act of war is an act of war. What do you want to do? Not build ANYTHING because someone might shoot at it?

Only a certifiable lunatic would try, as the people who have control of the orbitals can drop crowbars on your head, detect your launches, anticipate your moves and shoot down your missiles if they have anticipated any sort of hostility.
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The orbital vehicle is not a space "ship", it is a disk with some small auxiliary rockets for fine control. It is pitched into space by a larger ship that goes hypersonic and flies home, but never really leaves the atmosphere at all. Most of its flight is ballistic.

You do NOT need the same launch vehicle to get up there as you do to get into orbit. Orbit is a velocity condition - a vector, not an altitude. It is the VELOCITY that is difficult.

It is not as expensive as you think. It is expensive if you do NOT think of course, not thinking always costs money and lives. There are competing technologies, always will be. Some might be simpler in concept, but this one uses ONLY things we already know how to do.

We are talking about getting mass into earth orbit at a cost an order of magnitude or more lower than conventional launches with human friendly accelerations. The longer/more it is used the lower the cost goes (we learn to do it better).

"Crawl, Walk, Orbit"

The cost of course, is an up front investment that does not pay back to the corporate entity that does the build within less than a generation... it is not "commercially feasible" for a corporate to even start to invest in this. It is however, entirely feasible for a government or a group of governments to manage. The cost is not a show-stopper. The WILL to do it is perhaps, but that is not a show stopper either - with the right socio-political conditions someone can make it happen... a show stopper would be an engineering or economic reason it cannot be done.
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The orbital vehicle is not a space "ship", it is a disk with some small auxiliary rockets for fine control. It is pitched into space by a larger ship that goes hypersonic and flies home, but never really leaves the atmosphere at all. Most of its flight is ballistic.

You do NOT need the same launch vehicle to get up there as you do to get into orbit. Orbit is a velocity condition - a vector, not an altitude. It is the VELOCITY that is difficult.


Yes, you do, if you're talking about existing tech - because both velocity and ALTITUDE are very difficult.

You're way beyond existing technology with that little 'pitch' right there. The upper bound of atmospheric flight (suborbital vehicles) with existing or even proposed technology is about 70 miles up with SpaceShipOne- the lower bound for orbiting structures is generally considered to be around 100 miles. That's a gap of thirty miles - and perhaps more, since I don't know whether the lowest possible orbit is the best place to put your partial rings. We don't have any existing technology to simply throw the masses you're talking about for that distance even when fixed on earth, much less mounted on an SRV. You can't get from the suborbital to the partial ring with just 'auxiliary' rockets for control - you need real rockets.

How would this "pitch" work? What possible mechanism could you use to elevate payload thirty miles up from the larger ship?

It is not as expensive as you think. It is expensive if you do NOT think of course, not thinking always costs money and lives. There are competing technologies, always will be. Some might be simpler in concept, but this one uses ONLY things we already know how to do.

Well, I think it costs at least $500 per kilo (if we're only using things we know how to do) to get payload to the mesosphere, about thirty miles below the lowest possible location for these orbital rings - and that we lack any technology other than rockets mounted on the payload (and disk) that can move the payload the last thirty miles. Can you point out where I'm wrong in that? Altitude (not just velocity) is really expensive with existing tech, and we have nothing that can get mass to the altitude of orbit other than rockets.

The competing technologies aren't just "simpler" - they're vastly more efficient compared to the resources you'd need to expend to implement this kind of two-stage approach.

The cost of course, is an up front investment that does not pay back to the corporate entity that does the build within less than a generation... it is not "commercially feasible" for a corporate to even start to invest in this. It is however, entirely feasible for a government or a group of governments to manage. The cost is not a show-stopper. The WILL to do it is perhaps, but that is not a show stopper either - with the right socio-political conditions someone can make it happen... a show stopper would be an engineering or economic reason it cannot be done.

Again, it looks to me that this is an upfront investment that will never pay back, whether to governments or not, compared to what we can already do with conventional rocket technology. The partial orbital ring is much sexier than just using refinements of propellant rockets...but you haven't really explained how it's in any way better than that technology. It seems like it's only useful if you handwave away the very real obstacles to getting payload to the partial ring in the first place by any means other than strapping the payload to the rocket.

So before considering building this thing, I'd like to know the answer to that basic question - how do you plan on getting payload to the ring without launching it from earth on a propellant rocket?

Albaby
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"Only a certifiable lunatic would try, as the people who have control of the orbitals can drop crowbars on your head, detect your launches, anticipate your moves and shoot down your missiles if they have anticipated any sort of hostility.



If you put something in LEO...it moves around the planet. It will be out of touch of the US 80% of the time. It will be over hostile territory much of the time. There would be no way to 'shoot down' an enemy missile other than to have anti-missiles in space......a step no one has taken yet...

You don't think N. Korea or China would try if we went to war with them over resources? Or some Arab nut group , like Iran...would do it?

What world do you live in? N, Korea has missiles and so does Iran....



t.
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Strangely enough, we know how to use a bomber to "throw" a bomb. You are basically putting the hypersonic jet into a powered loop from a steep climb and releasing the payload at the appropriate point. The load goes mostly vertical ballistic at 5000 kph and 70 km altitude. Has to be high enough that the atmospheric drag is not a big issue.

h = 0.5 * v**2/g

Height is 60km +

5000 km/hr gives us
5000000/3600 = 1388.88
1388.8 **2 = 1929012
1929012/9.8/2 = 98.4 km.

So there's 158 km.

8000000/3600 = 252 km

So there's 312 km.

AND we have a jet engine capable of hypersonic operation, now that the SABRE has successfully tested. The launch "mothership" CAN also use rocket assist, but is going to do most of its lifting and acceleration as an air breather.

We know how to built planes that go that fast. From the X15 in 1967 to now is not a period of zero progress in aerodynamics, hypersonic flight controls and the like.

Better because you can get to space without using a Rocket to get all that speed and altitude off the ground. Much less fuel and oxidizer.

Cheaper because everything is re-usable and most of the acceleration is done electromagnetically, but in a realm where you don't need to work to maintain a vacuum.

-------------------------------

The alternative of a ground based mass driver is also feasible, though it is going to be shorter and the accelerations not "human survivable".

Lumps of rock, steel, aluminium and ice however, do not have these limitations. Building things in space is important. Things like those "joints" which didn't work because they were built on earth and shipped to space would get tested in space first, then assembled.

One more mistake is doing lots of complex things on earth. They should get done in space. The raw materials can be sent in "raw" form, shot directly into orbit at 2000 gravities of acceleration or to altitude at considerably less than that.

I have to go to work now. Maybe you'll read the book. It IS a fascinating read.
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.....a step no one has taken yet...

Wow. We haven't done that in space. We do it on earth where it is much much much more difficult.

Good point.
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"We know how to built planes that go that fast. From the X15 in 1967 to now is not a period of zero progress in aerodynamics, hypersonic flight controls and the like."

"Strangely enough, we know how to use a bomber to "throw" a bomb. You are basically putting the hypersonic jet into a powered loop from a steep climb and releasing the payload at the appropriate point. The load goes mostly vertical ballistic at 5000 kph and 70 km altitude. Has to be high enough that the atmospheric drag is not a big issue. "



---

And your enemy can copy your technology and blow up whatever you put up there.....isn't that the way the Chinese shot down their satellite?



t.
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The easiest point at which to hit an object being thrown upwards is at apogee. Even a non-gun-wielding yank knows that much. Duplicating the tech isn't going to give them an ADVANTAGE.
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The easiest point at which to hit an object being thrown upwards is at apogee. Even a non-gun-wielding yank knows that much. Duplicating the tech isn't going to give them an ADVANTAGE.

I think what telegraph means is that it would be relatively easy for an enemy to use the same tech to launch a similar-sized payload at these orbital rings - but instead of trying to pass through the rings, to hit one. After all, you're presumably describing a method for hitting a 14 meter wide target with a multi-ton payload traveling at relative speeds of between 4-7 km/s. So instead of aiming so the payload passes through the center of the ring (where it can begin to be accelerated to orbital speed), you hit the ring. Ideally you do this right in the middle of the sequence of the rings, so that you create a debris field in the center of the orbital launcher that renders it useless.

Albaby
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We know how to built planes that go that fast. From the X15 in 1967 to now is not a period of zero progress in aerodynamics, hypersonic flight controls and the like.

Do we? The flight airspeed record for an airbreathing aircraft is only about 3.5K km/hr - and there is a world of difference between attaining/maintaining that velocity moving horizontally with the aid of lift than moving straight up. Do we have any technology that would be capable of doing that vertically? And if you're going straight up, then your orbital ring elements will be moving at a velocity of close to 7.8 km/sec relative to your unmanned payload. Nor could any vehicle that moves that fast using existing tech carry anything like the payload you're discussing - the electromagnetic disk that your payload is going to be sitting on will weigh more than the X-15 or SpaceShipOne.

Color me skeptical that we have the capacity to launch a multi-ton payload to a specific point of altitude 100 miles up from a moving platform and to hold there with a margin of error of less than 10 meters or so either vertically or horizontally on a regular basis for anything on the order of the cost you're describing.

Cheaper because everything is re-usable and most of the acceleration is done electromagnetically, but in a realm where you don't need to work to maintain a vacuum.

Reusable doesn't mean something is cheaper - the space shuttle is an excellent example. Rockets might be relatively crude, but they work at a fairly well-known cost profile. You haven't described anything that could lift cargo cheaply to that altitude to make it worth the extra effort, risk, and expense of trying to fire it into an orbital ring rather than just fire it into space directly.

I appreciate that you're going to work, and I have been enjoying this discussion. I find this stuff interesting. I wish you could point me to a website that discussed how this type of ring might actually work in practice. There's a number of websites for people seriously trying to pencil out an economic way of designing space elevators and launch loops - the fact that no one is even thinking of orbital loops when there's folks doing all these other outside-the-box efforts makes me even more leery that they have any practicality at all.

Albaby
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We have active seeking on both sides. Lasers. Retroreflectors. YOU may be sceptical... I do real-time computations of all sorts for a living... the maneuvering jets have enough grunt to hold station for several seconds. If they fail the disk descends from a velocity of nothing... as it is designed to do.

Here. Using a combination of ground and space borne techniques makes more sense. This guy thought it through. Again, he's not messing around with conventional rockets. He has a good notion for smaller loads using laser launch and bolos, but the partial orbital ring is not bad. Just a bigger first step. Smart guy.

"If we view space as a place to send missions to, or perform specific tasks in, thenwill continue to upgrade chemical rocket systems. The basic problem with mission or task oriented development is that each one must be politically and economically justified, almost always on a stand-alone basis. The tendency is to only seriously consider jobs that can be done within your current transportation system. Those which are marginal or infeasible are either not considered or scrubbed, since to saddle any particlar mission with the development cost of a new transport system will almost surely kill it."

https://e-reports-ext.llnl.gov/pdf/193539.pdf

Lofstrom rubbished the orbital ring because of the need to put initial mass in orbit. However, his design is less robust and dynamically more dangerous. Pursued because young people forget that there is life outside the internet I think, not because there is actually a problem doing something else. Pursued perhaps because Lofstrom is more active in promoting his notion.

Some measures for actively managing a disk that ALMOST makes the center could be docking "tugs" which would not be tugs so much as a series of dynamically reactive stations that do a close approaches to an errant disk and push/pull it into a safe position magnetically.
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I should note that one of the issues with tethers and bolos of almost any sort is the electrical potential from the Earth's Magnetic Field and a "wire" passing through it. Non-conductive material is needed, or the power generated and resulting drag has to be managed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrodynamic_tether
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Here. Using a combination of ground and space borne techniques makes more sense. This guy thought it through. Again, he's not messing around with conventional rockets. He has a good notion for smaller loads using laser launch and bolos, but the partial orbital ring is not bad. Just a bigger first step. Smart guy.

Interesting, but not really what I was looking for. That paper is three decades old, and looks at numerous technologies. What I was noting is that there currently exist groups of very technically adept and visionary people strongly advocating for some launch technologies, like the space elevator:

http://www.isec.org/sec/

...but I can't find anyone currently trying to promote orbital rings as a realistic - if long-term - space technology. That suggests that even among visionaries and long-term thinkers that are committed to space exploration, the orbital ring isn't really on their menu.

We have active seeking on both sides. Lasers. Retroreflectors. YOU may be sceptical... I do real-time computations of all sorts for a living... the maneuvering jets have enough grunt to hold station for several seconds. If they fail the disk descends from a velocity of nothing... as it is designed to do.

If they fail at the wrong time, though, the multi-ton payload crashes into the leading orbital ring with a relative speed of 7.8 km/sec - destroying the ring and creating a debris field at the entrance to your entire station, rendering it all-but-useless until you clear the debris.

Again, that's not really the part I'm most skeptical of. I don't see how existing tech allows for a suborbital vehicle (SRV) to carry a 10K lb payload (which is what your disk would weigh, at a minimum) and get it moving vertically at 5K km/sec at anything close to the cost you're describing. Existing SRV aircraft could never do it - the X-15 and the SpaceShips are much too small to even physically accomplish the task - since they have costs on the order of $1K per pound.

Albaby
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You want us to have already built the "mothership" that gets them halfway to space and orbit... pushes speeds of 10000 km/hr and uses the new hypersonic jet engines. That's fair enough I suppose, but all the essential bits of that craft exist already in one form or another and making it sub-orbital rather than orbital, makes it cheaper to do than trying to fly to orbit.

On my part I think you've got at least one point. The cost for the whole operation is probably nearer $200/kilo than $20, while the price of a ground based simple mass driver to put raw materials up there is more like $10 all up. The cheaper prices I get enthusiastic over are always predicated on really effective electrical-to-velocity conversions.

The combination of the two - a mass driver for water, air, steel, frozen yogurt and titanium you want up there however - and the Leoport for the more gentle handling of humans - gives you the prices you need. You put a tech base into space.

You build more than one, and the second and third are much easier because you have the first one already.

As to the absence of "advocacy groups" I suspect it has to do with the same sort of phenomena that determined which direction is "clockwise"

:-)

If I had time I might start one so you could then consider it valid and viable. The internet takes someone some work to make such things... Kingsbury and Arnold were way ahead of their time, and the 3 decade old paper I cited contains more thoughtful analysis than most current advocacy groups. He even identifies an alternative based on laser rocketry (which is a good bet given the work that's been done on those for weapons development over the past 2 decades) and a bolo - sling.

The two together make a LOT of sense... and could be put together faster than the rings, again using no breakthrough technologies.
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You want us to have already built the "mothership" that gets them halfway to space and orbit... pushes speeds of 10000 km/hr and uses the new hypersonic jet engines. That's fair enough I suppose, but all the essential bits of that craft exist already in one form or another and making it sub-orbital rather than orbital, makes it cheaper to do than trying to fly to orbit.

No, I'm not asking for us to have already built it - I'm asking whether all the essential bits of that craft actually do exist in one form or another. Can that engine you're describing hit speeds of 10,000 km/hr if it is going vertically with a substantial multi-ton payload in addition to the weight of the vehicle and crew? Can a aircraft be designed with existing technology that can reach those kinds of speeds and altitudes and carry that kind of payload - especially when the payload has to be separated from the craft while it is travelling at those speeds?

Remember, you're talking about a system that requires the payload to be encased in enough electromagnetic metal that it can be sufficiently 'caught' by the orbital rings and structurally solid enough that it can transfer that energy to the payload to accelerate it to 7.8 km/second in the course of a minute or so. You're not doing that with a lightweight aluminum - that's going to be a ferrous blend that's going to weigh a lot. A 3-m steel cube that is only 1/2 inch thick is going to weigh 6,000 kg (which is actually three times the weight of SpaceShipOne), and that's before you load it up with sufficient instrumentation, rockets and fuel to keep it aloft within a few meters tolerance for a minute or so. Honestly, I'm not sure that you could design a mothership that was capable of putting as much weight as the payload module alone into the right spot.

The combination of the two - a mass driver for water, air, steel, frozen yogurt and titanium you want up there however - and the Leoport for the more gentle handling of humans - gives you the prices you need. You put a tech base into space.

I might be missing something, but are you really sending humans into space with this thing as you've described it? If the payload gets put to the front of the orbital ring by being 'pitched' by a vertically-ascending aircraft, it's going to be accelerated to orbital velocity from basically zero velocity in the course of a minute or two (otherwise you're going to have to load up your payload module with a lot of fuel to keep it at altitude), which will kill anyone inside of it.

Albaby
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By the time it is at those speeds it is up where the atmosphere is already pretty tenuous. The issue is basically whether this concept using a higher fuel fraction, which limits payload...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SABRE_(rocket_engine)

...beats going halfway to orbit and making up the speed another way.

The payload uses a supercooled electromagnet, not mass.

The "pitch" for a 150 km Leoport at 7.73 km/sec and 300 km altitude is supposed actually be at around 3 km/sec. The Mothership is doing half the work. The acceleration from zero though is still only about 4 or 5g because while it is in the Leoport it is moving as it is accelerated with the Leoport. I read it as being inside for over a minute. Make the Leoport longer and reduce the g forces.

Orbital velocity 7730 m/sec

49 m/s/s acceleration (5 g)

Time is 96.5 seconds from 3000 m/sec.

Leoport length to do this is 228 km (at 6 g 190 km)

To go from REST means two things. First is the problem of hitting the center of the bullseye is made harder, not intractable but harder. Second is that to get acceptable acceleration you need a much longer Leoport... more like 600 km long.
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The "pitch" for a 150 km Leoport at 7.73 km/sec and 300 km altitude is supposed actually be at around 3 km/sec. The Mothership is doing half the work. The acceleration from zero though is still only about 4 or 5g because while it is in the Leoport it is moving as it is accelerated with the Leoport. I read it as being inside for over a minute. Make the Leoport longer and reduce the g forces.

Orbital velocity 7730 m/sec

49 m/s/s acceleration (5 g)

Time is 96.5 seconds from 3000 m/sec.

Leoport length to do this is 228 km (at 6 g 190 km)


I must be misunderstanding you, then. From your earlier post, the payload capsule was going to be 'pitched' from a mothership that had climbed to vertical, which imparted enough velocity to allow the capsule to hit the appropriate altitude. But then the payload capsule doesn't have any velocity relative to the Leoport - it's standing still. If the mothership is pitching the capsule obliquely, then you have some horizontal velocity - but much less vertical velocity than in your earlier calculations.

Not that even having forward velocity would help matters, because the payload is only accelarating during the time that it is inside a ring. In other words, it's not a constant 96.5 seconds of acceleration, but a series of short sharp accelerations each lasting less than .004 seconds (with a 14-meter wide ring travelling at relative speed of 4 km/s). The g-forces when passing through the first ring would kill anything inside of the payload instantly, even with forward velocity.

You can't even solve that problem by having more and more rings, imparting less velocity, in a longer Leoport. That's because even though there's almost no atmosphere at this height, there's still plenty of gravity. Once the payload hits the right altitude, you have to do a continuous rocket burn to maintain it - lifting tons and tons of weight against pretty much full earth gravity (95% of surface gravity, assuming we start at relative rest). The longer it takes you to get to orbital speed, the more fuel you have to burn to maintain altitude - meaning more mass to lift, and less payload....

....and more expense relative to payload. Right now, your payload "capsule" has to be equipped with rockets and fuel for a contniunous hard burn of several minutes, an electromagnet, a massive internal power source capable of getting enough energy to that electromagnetic for a long enough time to 'catch' all those rings, sufficient shielding to protect all that from the heat and drag at 3 km/sec through the atmosphere (since it won't be internal to the mothership), electronic and sensor equipment that can somehow operate despite being inside a huge Faraday cage, and it has to be structurally strong enough to transfer the thrust from both the rockets and the magnets to the payload. In other words, each payload is going up in its own very expensive spacecraft, not just a container.

And again, I don't think you can even design a mothership that is capable of even lifting and releasing the payload spacecraft (unloaded) to altitude at the velocities you're talking about and achieve physical separation, even with a SABRE engine.

BTW, I'm really having a lot of fun delving into some of these concepts - I haven't had to figure out even basic physics stuff since college. I hope that you don't think I'm being argumentative - I just am trying to understand how this could possibly be more efficient than simply rockets, given the amount of resources required just to put the payload into the right place at the right time to enter these rings.

Albaby
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I didn't calculate myself before, nor read carefully enough in the book that long ago :-) - the relevant information is in there but the book is not a linear thing... hard to find stuff quickly but damned good book on Russian history too BTW.

The concept gets some velocity from the mothership but until I read that 30 year old paper and started doing some acceleration calcs myself I was simply working off memory.

The issue is to get a workable method of NOT having to put stuff in orbit using ONLY fuel carried on the ship that goes to orbit. Carrying all that fuel at the start is crippling and inefficient. Disposable rocket stages the size of office buildings. Fuel pumps that are build to be dead nuts reliable and then thrown away after one use.... there is a lot of expensive rubbish

That 30 year old paper was spot-on. Even a SABRE only saves about half the oxidizer for the fuel load... the fuel load makes the mass fraction you can put in space using conventional rocketry an expensive joke. It takes a VERY big rocket. The Saturn V was one effing expensive bird.

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You are being accelerated by Electromagnetic fields within and extending between each hoop, not experiencing discrete pulses. Stuff in a linear accelerator is not jerked along that savagely.

Once you are in the tube the magnetic fields are sufficient to keep you centered and offset the gravitic component -or- the "tube" can be angled. The maneuvering is for a few seconds at apogee of a ballistic path... not continuous, and I am wondering to myself about the consequences of pushing a magnet of that strength through the earth's magnetic field. Humans of course, stand those fields quite nicely in MRI scans, so not a problem. Nor for electronics that are "off" and the magnetic field in the disk is not changing a lot, it's constant.

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Why isn't it internal to the mothership? Not saying it must be but I always regarded it that way... not clear why you can't get a 10 meter disk inside a bigger ship and turn it loose when you're outside most of atmosphere. It IS the "mothership" that is the most expensive bit, and the SABRE is adaptive so at altitude IT acts as a rocket.

The release has to be ballistic and outside the region of greatest atmospheric heating - ie above 120 km. It isn't like there's a lot of stress on that release at that point. Throttle back and you push it out the bay, effectively relatively weightless. The disks need some heat shielding on the way back down (return flights), but not as much as for a full de-orbit. They're decelerated by atmosphere pretty quick.

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After being reminded of it I like the lasers. Get most of your boost energy from ground based lasers... and we've already built the bulk of that tech as well, due to the not inconsiderable research we've been doing into making them powerful enough to be weapons... but those payloads would be individually smaller (there is still reaction mass to carry) and the necessity of putting raw materials up and building more fragile things in space rather than subjecting them to 1000 g + accelerations remains.

The point is that the rockets will not, in the manner in which we are using them and working on missions, reduce below $1000/kilo... and the reason for that was laid out by that guy 30 years ago. Space isn't a place to go, it is a place to "do missions". That makes it temporary and expensive to do anything and unlikely that cheaper methods will be developed.

Efficiency has to do with mass fraction, AND easy re-usability AND the amount of accelerating done in the atmosphere. A combination of a laser powered first stage and a rocket second stage might be a better choice.

SSTO is nice because it is simply refueled and can take off from anywhere, but the mass fraction to get out of the gravity well is ugly. I want to put things into orbit and don't care much for carrying the propulsion system and fuel that gets me out of the atmosphere along for the ride. Once all that stuff is in orbit it is just dead mass that has to be de-orbited to be of any use.
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You are being accelerated by Electromagnetic fields within and extending between each hoop, not experiencing discrete pulses. Stuff in a linear accelerator is not jerked along that savagely.

Once you are in the tube the magnetic fields are sufficient to keep you centered and offset the gravitic component -or- the "tube" can be angled.


Can you do that with existing tech? Linear accelerators typically don't operate at the sort of distances you're talking about (literally hundreds of meters between electromagnets). Are they capable of generating fields that reach that far out? Especially when their only power source is solar energy (unless these rings are nuclear powered)?

Why isn't it internal to the mothership? Not saying it must be but I always regarded it that way... not clear why you can't get a 10 meter disk inside a bigger ship and turn it loose when you're outside most of atmosphere.

The release has to be ballistic and outside the region of greatest atmospheric heating - ie above 120 km. It isn't like there's a lot of stress on that release at that point. Throttle back and you push it out the bay, effectively relatively weightless.


I always pictured it as being external so that it can be released cleanly from the mothership, because it is not relatively weightless. It's really really heavy. You're travelling at suborbital speeds well within earth's gravity well - so that payload capsule has enormous weight (which is being countered by the thrust imparted by the mothership's engines). There's a lot of stress on the release. So I pictured the payload craft carried outside the mothercraft so it could just fall away (like the X-15) - not inside the mothercraft where it has to be pushed out.

Albaby
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10 meters between magnets, not 100. Maybe loosely wire 'em together.

Might put a ballistic fabric insulation around the thing so that

a. It can stay cooler inside
b. Space Junk is "attenuated" somewhat on impact. Aerogel outer would help IIRC.
c. Stuff drifting away doesn't become space junk. Can keep it collected.

?

Rings generate power when they accelerate the disk. Lose momentum. Need power to build momentum back or to decelerate. Don't knock solar, it doesn't have any real limits up there. You build a mirror the size of Texas and it's really really thin.. but it concentrates power that would vaporize Dallas faster than a Nuke.

Any time the mothership is out of the atmosphere it can cut off engines and coast ballistically. There is at that point, no effective weight or drag, just mass (relatively meant relative to the mothership).

You could open a hatch and push the thing out (albeit with a bit of grunting and groaning as it does have mass), by hand... there is NO stress on the release, or more accurately no more stress than we care to have.

The X-15 was limited by starting where the air is thick and drag is an issue. I sure as heck wouldn't be advocating release of anything but exhaust gas at hypersonic speeds in any appreciable atmosphere... that is a tech I can't imagine getting anytime soon.
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10 meters between magnets, not 100. Maybe loosely wire 'em together.

But that dramatically changes the cost structure of your orbital ring. If we're talking about a 600 km long tube in order to provide for safe acceleration, and you can't stretch out the distance between rings, then you're talking 60,000 rings getting into orbit via conventional tech. Even if these rings were only a few meters wide, you'd need thousands and thousands of launches to get that many into LEO even using the method of stacking them around a rocket tube (which is not really practical given the necessity of having launch stages to move that much matter into LEO using rockets).

Rings generate power when they accelerate the disk. Lose momentum. Need power to build momentum back or to decelerate. Don't knock solar, it doesn't have any real limits up there. You build a mirror the size of Texas and it's really really thin. But it concentrates power that would vaporize Dallas faster than a Nuke.

Yeah, but a mirror doesn't generate useful electrical energy to run your rings. You need panels, and panels have weight, and weight is expensive, which means that your power storage needs are a real factor.

You could open a hatch and push the thing out (albeit with a bit of grunting and groaning as it does have mass), by hand... there is NO stress on the release, or more accurately no more stress than we care to have.

Gotcha. But then your "free fall" starts earlier than in your other calculations, since both ship and payload begin to decelerate the moment the engines are cut. If you're planning on taking more than a few seconds for this maneuvre, you're going to lose a lot of your end height, and even at 5,000 km/hour you don't have a lot of room for error to get up to LEO even going straight up. I assumed that you were making the "pitch" under full thrust.

Albaby
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No... that's why you go with the 150 - 200 km accelerator and inject with some significant fraction of orbital velocity.

20000 "rings" launched maybe 100 at a trip is 200 launches. The person who wrote the original knew we had the Saturn V launch vehicle and didn't realize we would be stupid enough to lose that ability. Heavy lift these days is 50 metric tons to LEO. The V would do twice that.

Twenty Billion for those launches on current prices. More launches more money.

5-6 years or so with a launch every 10 days OR use lunar materials with a much smaller launch problem for a linear accelerator OR build them in space from material launched using a high G linear accelerator on earth. A combination approach. The current "heavy lift" vehicle capability available to LEO is about 50 tons. I don't see that much trouble fairing and getting rings stacked on top, but I am a bit annoyed at having lost the V. Maybe we go for 50 at a time, at about a ton each, and 400 launches... over 10 years to spend 40 Billion. Over 10 years. 4 Billion a year?. I'd guess we can afford that part.

...and no, I wouldn't expect to use a lot of time in the maneuver and would likely have some sort of pneumatic system to eject it rapidly enough to make sure it gets clear. Simple enough.

The power requirements do not necessarily mean panels, there are designs for solar thermal power stations as well, but panels are probably more easily made on the moon than anywhere else. The silica and light minerals needed are there, the power is there, the vacuum is there and the g-forces are tame by comparison.

Power "storage" implies that I have to worry about the supply being cut, but microwave rectennae are not hard to do and a decent web of power relays can keep the juice on as reliably as plugging it into Grand Coulee. Even if the source is entirely on the moon. Probably will have some. Can also power it by dropping lunar mass to LEO for some time to come. That isn't (by my lights) sustainable... but LEO is where we're going to be stuck for some time.

Why will we be stuck there?

Because we don't understand our own environment half as well as we need to for extended and unsupported trips in space, and we aren't half as good at vacuum seals as we ought to be.
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No... that's why you go with the 150 - 200 km accelerator and inject with some significant fraction of orbital velocity.

But as we've discussed above, if you're imparting horizontal velocity to the payload, you don't have as much vertical velocity to get it to the necessary altitude from just above the mesopause.

20000 "rings" launched maybe 100 at a trip is 200 launches. The person who wrote the original knew we had the Saturn V launch vehicle and didn't realize we would be stupid enough to lose that ability. Heavy lift these days is 50 metric tons to LEO. The V would do twice that.

I think that's an unrealistic assessment of the weight and volume of these rings. How much do you think they weigh? You're talking a ring with a 14m diameter and (let's assume) a cross section of 1m. An empty ring that size made out of aluminum with a thickness of only one centimeter would weigh four metric tonnes. That's before you fill it with any of the equipment you would need to generate your magnetic field, and reinforce it so that it would be crushed as it was launched through the atmosphere. I think you're looking at only one or two of these things per launch.

(Nor is the Saturn V tall enough to carry that many rings into orbit - it was only 100 m tall, and the first and second stages (which didn't make it to even LEO altitude) took up 66 m of that).

Power "storage" implies that I have to worry about the supply being cut....

No, that wasn't really where I was going. Rather, I was thinking how much power you need to draw to 'activate' the rings - to generate enough electromagnetic field to "catch" the payload as it passed through each ring for a few seconds. It's almost certainly more power than would be currently generated by the solar panels at that moment; you'd likely be storing energy over time, then discharging it quickly at launch. The solar panels of the ISS generate only about 84 kw of power - and weigh about 150 tons.

Albaby
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albaby:"The solar panels of the ISS generate only about 84 kw of power - and weigh about 150 tons. "

And worse, they have to be pointed constantly at the sun.....to get the power....and those rotationg joints don't last....

You'd need positioning equipment and battery storage to have any significant electromagnetic field.....adding, probably at least a ton to the payload.....by the time you got done.


Worse, LEO satellites have a short lifetime and need to keep position.....they slowly fall to earth due to some atmospheric drag......


t.
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Sorry, I had accepted that when I realized I had to impart V to the payload disk.

Using the SABRE capability as a rocket for part of it, so it CAN go higher. As long as it doesn't have to stay or do a full on re-entry or provide toilet facilities in weightlessness, it is still in the flight envelope. I expect it to go past the mesopause but not to orbital velocity.

More interested in the mass of the "rings. I just tried out your assumptions and got a different number from you... factor of two. I'll need to try that again... but the rings aren't much structurally. My reading reminds me that they are a hoop inside a hoop, wired together... and the authors were pretty explicit about the number of launches, though again assuming launch vehicles like the Saturn. Hence my halving of their assumptions. They were talking a hundred rings in a stack so must have been < 0.3 m thick to be of a height to fit that on the last stage of the V.

Having said that, the mass numbers for startup were always the ugly part... which makes it more important to launch raw material and form stuff in space (where you can do the most interesting things), or sending it down from the moon instead. On current form we'll STILL be buying stuff from the Chinese ;-)

That's the other thing I grouse about often. We are dedicated to building things here on earth and sending finished products into orbit. This is unlikely, given the constraints on mass and fragility, to be cost effective, while if you put the talent and tools to make stuff up THERE and just have to pump raw materials up to them, it all gets a lot cheaper a lot faster.

Pretty sure you'd only need to activate the first 3 rings and you could let the passage of the craft through them generate the power to activate the next. Your overall power draw is unlikely to be large that way. Deceleration of a load so that it drops to earth is the one that costs energy.

I probably have to read the book again now, as the buried fragments of the design they came up with and their assumptions are scattered through it like chocolate chips in a cookie. Hard to read for specific content, but a good book. I am pretty sure there is a more complete description of the hoops in there somewhere.

Not attaching solar panels to the thing at 300 km. The power sats go up higher out of the atmosphere. All you have near the station are rectennae for the microwave beams.
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I probably have to read the book again now, as the buried fragments of the design they came up with and their assumptions are scattered through it like chocolate chips in a cookie. Hard to read for specific content, but a good book. I am pretty sure there is a more complete description of the hoops in there somewhere.

No doubt. If it's a good read, I'll see if perhaps they have it here in the library - I have fond memories of SF from that era, and usually they're a quick read as well.

I was a huge Asimov fan in my youth, and recall being quite taken by his idea of "strips" for urban transportation in cities with massive population density. Essentially, they were parallel moving sidewalks, moving at incremental speeds - with the fastest in the center. You'd step onto the 2 mph strip, then further in to the 5 mph strip, then the 10 mph strip, until you reached a strip that was moving fast enough that you would quickly arrive to your destination. Interesting in concept, and certainly technically feasible - but completely impractical.

Albaby
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