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Only politics stands in the way of a renewable energy powered world – new report

renewable-energy-world-SmThe World Could Run Entirely On Wind, Solar, And Hydro Power By 2050

We can fully get rid of fossil fuels quickly, if countries can just find the political will.

In a few decades, the world could be powered by nothing but wind, water, and sunlight. That’s the conclusion of a new study released just before world leaders head to Paris to strike a climate deal. “These are basically plans showing it’s technically and economically feasible to change the energy infrastructure of all of these different countries,” says Mark Z. Jacobson, director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford University, who worked with University of California colleagues to analyze energy roadmaps for 139 countries [on original] 

The researchers crunched numbers to see how much energy each country would need by 2050—including electricity, transportation, heating and cooling, industry, and agriculture—and then calculated how renewable energy could cover those needs, where it could go, and how much it would cost.

“People who are trying to prevent this change would argue that it’s too expensive, or there’s just not enough power, or they try to say that it’s unreliable, that it will take too much land area or resources,” Jacobson says. “What this shows is that all these claims are mythical.”

Renewable energy is already cheap and will get cheaper. Even now, Jacobson says, wind is the cheapest electricity in the U.S., costing just 3.5 cents a kilowatt-hour (unsubsidized) compared to 6 to 8 cents for natural gas. That’s not including health and climate benefits: The study estimates that shifting infrastructure would save 4 to 7 million lives a year of people who would have died from air pollution—deaths that cost the world around 3% of the global GDP.

Shifting to renewables would create 20 million more jobs than those lost in the fossil fuel industry. Energy prices would stabilize, since renewables don’t use a commodity fuel. Decentralizing power would reduce the risk of both terrorism at power plants and outages from storms. Countries could become energy independent, eliminating a major cause of global conflict. Four billion people who don’t have reliable (or, in some cases, any) access to energy today would have power.

The study lays out a timeline of how the shift could happen. By 2020, countries would stop building new coal, natural gas, or nuclear plants (or biomass, which the researchers don’t consider a good alternative). New home appliances like stoves and heaters would be electric, not gas. By 2025, new cargo ships, trains, and buses would be electrified. Cars and trucks would get there by 2030. Eventually, by 2050, the transition would be complete.

It sounds simpler than we’ve led to believe. And that’s because the catch, of course, is political: Countries will have to decide to make the shift. If they do, though, it could actually work.

November 21, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

A Norwegian team that slowed up Hitler’s nuclear ambitions

WWII Hero Credits Luck and Chance in Foiling Hitler’s Nuclear Ambitions, By , NYT, NOV. 20, 2015 LESUND, Norway — For a man who saved the world, or at least helped ensure that Adolf Hitler never got hold of a nuclear bomb, 96-year-old Joachim Ronneberg has a surprisingly unheroic view of the forces that shape history.

“There were so many things that were just luck and chance,” he said of his 1943 sabotage mission that blew up a Norwegian plant vital to Nazi Germany’s nuclear program. “There was no plan. We were just hoping for the best,” Mr. Ronneberg, Norway’s most decorated war hero, added.

The leader and only living member of a World War II commando team that destroyed the Nazis’ only source of heavy water, a rare fluid needed to produce nuclear weapons, Mr. Ronneberg has had his exploits celebrated in a 1965 blockbuster movie, “The Heroes of Telemark,” starring Kirk Douglas, been showered with military medals and been honored, belatedly, with a statue and museum display in his hometown here on Norway’s west coast.

M.R.D. Foot, the official historian of Britain’s wartime sabotage and intelligence service, the Special Operations Executive, which organized Mr. Ronneberg’s mission, described the raid on a Norsk Hydro plant producing heavy water in Nazi-occupied Norway as a “coup” that “changed the course of the war” and deserved the “gratitude of humanity.”……..

it took years before Mr. Ronneberg came to understand the exact purpose and importance of the job. All the British told him before dropping him onto a snow-covered Norwegian mountain, he said, was that a row of pipes at the Vemork plant needed to be destroyed.

“They just said it was important and had to be blown up,” he said,…….

He added that he knew nothing at the time about nuclear physics, heavy water or the race to build a nuclear bomb. He knew that Britain had lost more than 35 men in a disastrous 1942 attempt to sabotage the Norsk Hydro plant, but he had no idea why it was so intent on disabling a remote mountain facility whose only product as far as he knew was fertilizer…….

Mr. Ronneberg’s raid slowed the Nazi’s pursuit of a bomb rather than delivering a knockout blow. The Nazis worked quickly to rebuild the plant at Vemork, prompting a series of bombing raids by the United States Air Force that infuriated even anti-Nazi Norwegians because of the civilian casualties they caused. The Germans then tried to move all their surviving heavy water in Norway to Germany, but this effort collapsed when Norwegian saboteurs, led by one of Mr. Ronneberg’s team, Knut Haukelid, blew up a ferry carrying the prized cargo.

While long celebrated by foreign, particularly British, filmmakers, the exploits of Mr. Ronneberg and nine other Norwegians involved in thwarting the Nazi nuclear project became widely known in Norway only this year, when NRK, the state broadcaster, ran “The Heavy Water War,” a six-episode mini-series that became a national sensation. The statue of Mr. Ronneberg in front of City Hall here in Alesund was put up only last year to observe his 95th birthday………

November 21, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, history | Leave a comment