Tag Archives: global warming

June 2012 What a Waste!

Great stuff, energy. It has three main problems though. Firstly it has a tendency to wander off if we are not using it, secondly it often needs to be diluted before we use it and lastly we cannot put it back where it started. For example we may use high grade energy (electricity) to heat water to 60 C and store it in a hot water tank. Then we further degrade it to 40C to bathe in it. We then throw it away. What a waste. However energy costs us nothing – just the price of moving it.
Most of our energy was first laid down during the Paleozoic era around 540 million years ago when life was formed and continued for about 300 million years. The Industrial Revolution has been in full swing for about 150 years and we have got through about half of that energy. As a rule of thumb, every year of modern living releases a million years of carbon dioxide stored in fossil fuel.
My genes will hopefully hang around for a few years after my death and I would like them to have a good home. The trouble is, all this energy we are releasing also produces a deal of greenhouse gas. Life as we know will become unsustainable. That will be the end of my genes – unless global warming can be reversed.

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Spend money on roads to cut global warming.

A typical family car with a top speed of 120 mph needs about 121bhp to drive it at that speed. Since the power needed to move that car through the air at half that speed (60mph) goes down by the square root, it can be seen that just 11bhp would do the job. The other 110bhp are only really needed for overtaking and joining fast traffic. If roads were wider then overtaking would be easier and need less power. If acceleration lanes were longer we could join up with fast traffic without needing to accelerate so hard. We need not then have to buy cars with powerful engines just to stay safe and to avoid inconveniencing other road users. If roads were better then we could also avoid traffic jams.
You see where I am going? Better roads would save energy and reduce the rate that Homo sapiens is polluting the atmosphere. A spin off from this is that better roads are safer.
It is easy to blame motorists for having accidents at accident black spots but has anyone considered that our road infrastructure may perhaps need a little money spent on it?
I would not hesitate to advocate a rise in fuel duty to pay for this – except that the money raised in this manner would undoubtedly end up like the ‘road fund’ license. It will be taken from tax donor and used for other ‘worthwhile projects’.