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renewable energy

Climate and the Energy Transition: Current Status and Challenges

Lorne Trottier and Jean-Patrick Toussaint discuss the current status and challenges of climate change and the energy transition, focusing on the need for renewable energy and electrification to mitigate climate change.

Ernest Scheyder — The Global Battle to Power Our Lives

Shermer and Scheyder discuss: rare earth metals • lithium, copper, • aluminum and other precious metals • how much rare earth metals will we need by 2050, 2100, and beyond • combatting climate change • electric vehicles • recycling electronic waste • how lithium-ion batteries work • Can renewables completely replace fossil fuels without nuclear? • how mining works in the U.S., China, Chile, Russia, elsewhere • public vs. private ownership of mines • Native American land rights.

Fossil Fuels: The Past and the Future

How were coal and petroleum produced? (NOT from dinosaurs!) How much is left? Can or when will we run out? The end of “cheap oil” will happen soon but we will probably not realize it until oil-producing countries can no longer keep up with demand, no matter how high the price. If we don’t phase out fossil fuels, climate change will become even more intense and oil will get too expensive for all but the most essential uses.

Skeptic Interviews Steven Koonin

Skeptic: How did you get interested in energy? Koonin: I was educated in New York City public schools and grew up in a middle-class household. I went to Caltech as an undergrad, MIT for my PhD, and then returned to Caltech as faculty for 30 years. I was the Provost for the last nine. I […]

The Future of Energy and Our Climate: Fracking, Renewables, or Nuclear?

The Paris Accords have been a failure in reducing global warming. Solar and wind energy have not been the panacea environmentalists promised. To avoid catastrophic economic impacts, the United States needs to keep producing oil and gas until other ways of mitigating global warming can be found. Fracking has helped turn the United States into the world’s leading oil and gas producer. But the health of future Earth relies on keeping a strong economy while we transition away from oil…

It’s Always Sunny in Space: Why Space-Based Solar Power Is a Viable Source of Energy

Advances in civilization are driven by the availability of excess energy. As the human population has exploded over the past two centuries, the global consumption of energy has also drastically expanded. But the current economic model is unsustainable without the development of a clean, unlimited source of energy. Space-based solar power (SBSP) can directly access the power of the Sun, and has the potential to be that clean, unlimited baseload power source of energy for the entire planet.

Robert Frank — Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work

Shermer and Frank discuss: luck and circumstances • peer pressure • free will • self-control • happiness vs. purpose • utilitarianism vs. natural rights theory • abortion, capital punishment, polygamy, prostitution, and the selling of organs • behavioral contagions: smoking, problem drinking, obesity, tax cheating, bullying, and wasteful energy use • same-sex marriage • climate change • Universal Basic Income, and more…

eSkeptic for February 11, 2020

In Science Salon # 103 Michael Shermer speaks with Robert Frank about how social environments profoundly influence our behavior. This conversation is based on Frank’s new book: Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work. PLUS: Michael Aisner presents a vintage slice of history, science, and skepticism about UFOs in this interview he recorded in 1966 with UFOlogist Dr. J. Allen Hynek, his photo analyst cohort Fred Beckman, and then repackaged in the early 1970s with contributions from Sherman J.…

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