"Or ... you could just let nature take its course"
It is kind of romantic to think of padding around in the jungle with nature girl but I don't think we would have survived long, certainly not over half a century like me and my modern lady.
If you are not one of those folks who thinks the earth and heavens were created 6,000 years ago and dinosaurs were just funny-looking horses, you may have heard tell of the Great Dying 250 million years ago when life was nearly extinguished on the planet.
Nature can play rough.
People got heads to be something more than a hat rack methinks.
Sure it's good to pay attention to Mother Nature but no use pretending she can do no harm.
Without farming, we would just be hunter-gatherers-scavengers yet. Farming our waters is a very good thing IMO but we must be careful of not doing too much harm.
"What the world does not need, is more baseload plants."
Power on demand rather than when a supplier is pleased to provide it is the only way to go.
As a matter of fact, baseload renewable energy is far more massive, cheaper and greener than all others combined. It is foolish not to use them in preference to the dirties and undependables that the monopolists and misguided prefer.
"I just can't follow the biomass math."
The math is quite simple: 1 = 1, 2=2, etc. :-)
As long as carbon isn't re-introduced from sequestered sources to the surface, the system is completely stable. When carbon is subtracted from the surface, as when carbon is sequestered in soil, there is actually a lowering of carbon on the surface, and in the atmosphere and in bodies of water.
The incomprehensibly dense prevention of converting coal-burning power plants to biomass-burning power plants - most notably in Massachusetts - because the recycling of carbon was ignored was and is an atrocity.
Velocity of conversion, interaction of land, water and air and other factors have not been attended to here but the basic math is just as stated.
Just swell. Carbon will be replaced by the vastly more potent greenhouse gas pollutant - methane.
"The facilities will be replaced by four gas-fired stations with capacity to supply 2.6 times more electricity than the coal plants."
The statistics on the comparative harm to the atmosphere and environment is unclear and controversial but the ludicrous claim by our President and his Energy Secretary that natural gas is green and clean is odious. Firewater right from the water faucet in some areas is not a blessing to those so "benefited."
We can fool ourselves easily enough but never Mother Earth.
"Sugarcane Bagasse: A Profitable Residue"
This provides just a small sampling of the many and increasing uses of bagasse.
Dear Mr. Morris,
Old King Coal and his whole family will continue laughing at you and all your kin as long as you keep pretending the foppery of intermittent renewables will solve all the problems.
The cheapest, greenest, most plentiful of all energy sources, baseload renewables, are available right beneath your feet. You need not continue with the ludicrous notion that hot dry rock [HDR] geothermal or its funny new alias, EGS, are needed. That idea has been around longer than the fantasy of solar satellites zapping the juice to earthlings like Scotty sending the crew of the Enterprise to other planet surfaces and not near a solution.
Yeah I know you are as hard of hearing as Old King Coal and all his kin but you will all get hearing aids or maybe we are all finished.
"We already have the 100% renewable we need."
And Dorothy could always return to Kansas but wouldn't do it.
We keep screwing around with expensive undependables, like wind and solar, that fail when most needed making certain that we will keep pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere until we use our heads for something other than a hat rack.
Q. What is the true cost of depending on sun and wind for renewable energy?
Ans: Perhaps life on the planet.
No, Brian, I do not deliberately misunderstand anyone.
Look yourself at what you write:
"We already have the 100% renewable we need. The tech works, it's commercial and it's cheaper than fossils or nuclear. Not so say that new development can't change things, but for now we have a solution. rooftop and parking lot solar pv everywhere, offshore wind, waste to fuels..."
You start with the main blockades to realistic conversion to a total green economy. You might as well have praised the most potent greenhouse gas fossil fuel of them all - natural gas - as green as grass like our President and Energy Secretary while moving to replace Saudi Arabia as the main source of fossil fuels.
Baseload renewables need to be the primary focus of development rather than an afterthought. All roads do not lead to salvation even for Hindus.
Brian, plans and dreams are not the same.
Japan incredibly planned to deploy an armada of solar satellites while it was fixing to suffer a second nuclear holocaust. I had read decades earlier of a quite serious proposal to overcome long forgotten energy shortages with the same satellites but no one has found a way to transmit the energy to the surface. The magazine carrying the dreamy stuff was named Research. It was mailed to researchers in labs around the country and presumably far beyond our borders. There was much of interest in the magazine but the silliness of the proposal for the crash program for developing a solar satellite armada wasn't one of those.
"Baseload is a limitation"
What a farce. I can't believe an intelligent person would damn energy on demand rather than energy availability when it is not needed but there it is.
"Baseload is a limitation."
And black is white, pigs fly and Atlas holds up the planet standing on a turtle.
Your own proposal of using waste as fuel, though limited by your own blind faith in sloganeering, is baseload as are tidal power and OTEC - and all fossil fuels, hence their deadly attraction.
Much hydropower is at least near baseload though current climate change aided by your doctrinaire follies is doing considerable hurt to hydropower through droughts and flooding. I certainly don't dispute the harm done by dams as well as benefits.
Mark Twain's epithet - "lies, damn lies and statistics" - gets a powerful example in your nonsensical proclamation that "geothermal...can only supply 5% of so of our electrical demand" flies in the face of obvious factual information.
Dr. Allen, a spellbinding orator and head of the geology department in one of the universities where I went to school, loved to tell of his difficulty in getting his Ph.D. with geologists in earlier times scoffing at the idea of floating continents. They knew nothing of the incredible convection currents in solid rock created by the enormous heat generated by radioactive decay in our planet. All other forces acting on our planet are piddling twaddle by comparison.
With age and the inability of all humans to fully adapt, Dr. Allen himself had become a fossil condemning the new science of geophysics that led to our first knowledge of global warming through human activity.
Scoff as you wish, hurl juvenile insults to your hearts content. You cannot change what is.
Anyone still wonder why some of the poorest nations on the planet are eagerly developing geothermal resources while the richest nation on the planet can't afford it?
Oregon once banned all geothermal power development on its federal lands in chasing Chevron out of the state and consequently out of the U.S.
Chevron has since become the largest private developer of geothermal power in the world - but not in the U.S.
Permitting is only one facet of America's incredible hostility to the greenest, cheapest, most potent power source on earth - Mother Earth herself.
So how did America become the largest geothermal power producer on earth? It was accomplished largely by geothermal pioneer B. C. McCabe who lost his first born in a hostile takeover by Union Oil. Then vampire management had a hand in turning the country away from the greatest renewable ever.