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Can renewables etc. solve the greenhouse problem? The negative case

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  • Trainer, Ted
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    Virtually all current discussion of climate change and energy problems proceeds on the assumption that technical solutions are possible within basically affluent-consumer societies. There is however a substantial case that this assumption is mistaken. This case derives from a consideration of the scale of the tasks and of the limits of non-carbon energy sources, focusing especially on the need for redundant capacity in winter. The first line of argument is to do with the extremely high capital cost of the supply system that would be required, and the second is to do with the problems set by the intermittency of renewable sources. It is concluded that the general climate change and energy problem cannot be solved without large scale reductions in rates of economic production and consumption, and therefore without transition to fundamentally different social structures and systems.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301-4215(10)00200-4
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 8 (August)
    Pages: 4107-4114

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:8:p:4107-4114
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

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    1. Patrick Moriarty & Damon Honnery, 2007. "Global bioenergy: problems and prospects," International Journal of Global Energy Issues, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 27(2), pages 231-249.
    2. Oswald, James & Raine, Mike & Ashraf-Ball, Hezlin, 2008. "Will British weather provide reliable electricity?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 3202-3215, August.
    3. Moriarty, Patrick & Honnery, Damon, 2009. "What energy levels can the Earth sustain?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 2469-2474, July.
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