A Climate Realist’s (not so) short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change. Question 7 (of 16) Will a tech breakthrough help us?

NOV. 28, 2015 gave his answers to 16 questions in the N.Y. Times regarding Climate Change. This Climate realist added his answer.

 Answers to Question 1: How much is the planet heating up?

Answers to Question 2. How much trouble are we in?

Answers to Question 3. Is there anything I can do?

Answers to Question 4. What’s the optimistic scenario?

Answers to Question 5. Will reducing meat in my diet help the climate?

Answers to Question 6. What’s the worst-case scenario?

Justin Gillis answer to Question7. Will a tech breakthrough help us?

Even Bill Gates says don’t count on it, unless we commit the cash.

As more companies, governments and researchers devote themselves to the problem, the chances of big technological advances are improving. But even many experts who are optimistic about technological solutions warn that current efforts are not enough. For instance, spending on basic energy research is only a quarter to a third of the level that several in-depth reports have recommended. And public spending on agricultural research has stagnated even though climate change poses growing risks to the food supply. People like Bill Gates have argued that crossing our fingers and hoping for technological miracles is not a strategy — we have to spend the money that would make these things more likely to happen.

My answer to Question7. Will a tech breakthrough help us?

The CO2 increase is already showing its benefits by increasing harvests, forest growth and especially greening grasslands by more than 11%. The greening of the earth is real. See fig:In addition plants use less water to perform photosynthesis as CO2 levels increase.

But we need technological breakthrough to clean up our environment and  provide enough water for a thirsty planet, especially in the 10/40 window. Nearly all large cities in that area suffer a shortage of water. In Teheran the water table is sinking by 6 feet a year, and in Mexico City things ate just as bad. Southern California and Las Vegas depend to a large extent on water from Lake Mead, and unless checked Lake Mead is being drained at an alarming rate, (this winter being an exception).

Making clean water and cleaning up the environment takes a lot of energy, so it would be good to check from where the world gets its energy.

More than three quarter of all energy comes from fossil fuel, less than 0.1% comes from solar panels. To tenfold solar panels will not help much, hydropower is limited, ethanol competes with the food supply, only drastic action will change the situation. May I suggest to switch all electricity production now generated by coal and oil to nuclear power, but not any nuclear power, switch to Thorium based nuclear power generation. Until that is done it makes no sense to use electric automobiles and trucks except in special circumstances. There is a million year supply of Thorium, and Thorium based nuclear energy has only 0.01% of the long term nuclear waste of Uranium based nuclear energy.

Don’t believe me? Check out https://lenbilen.com/2012/02/15/eleven-reasons-to-switch-to-thorium-based-nuclear-power-generation/  and https://lenbilen.com/2012/02/15/eleven-more-reasons-to-switch-to-thorium-as-nuclear-fuel/

Then we can tackle the real problems, such as real (not “carbon”) pollution, water, energy distribution, electrification of the developing world, all worthwhile endeavors.

Answers to Question 8. How much will the seas rise?

Answers to Question 9. Are the predictions reliable?

Answers to Question 10. Why do people question climate change?

Answers to Question 11. Is crazy weather tied to climate change?

Answers to Question 12. Will anyone benefit from global warming?

Answers to Question 13. Is there any reason for hope?

Answers to Question 14. How does agriculture affect climate change?

Answers to Question 15. Will the seas rise evenly across the planet?

Answers to Question 16. Is it really all about carbon?


Published by


Engineer, graduated from Chalmers Technical University a long time ago with a degree in Technical Physics. Career in Aerospace, Analytical Chemistry, and chip manufacturing. Presently adjunct faculty at PSU, teaching one course in Computer Engineering, the Capstone Course.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s