Climate Change Won’t Kill You – Having No Electrical Power Will

Guest essay by Tom D. Tamarkin

AGW or climate change is not the big problem many claim. The perceived scare of AGW has been used by sub-groups in the United Nations to bluff wealthy industrialized nations into transferring money to poor often times corrupt nations. Monies gained from this mechanism have not been invested in the root cause of AGW (if in fact any exists.) At the same time over $1 trillion USD is spent worldwide annually on climate change studies, consultants, related government agencies, and the rapidly growing but totally ineffective green and renewable energy industry. This has also lead to the emergence of the carbon trading brokerage industry. This is based on fraudulent science as CO2 has an extremely small “greenhouse” effect far exceeded by water vapor from the oceans. Only fossil hydrocarbon fuels and nuclear energy can supply material amounts of energy due to their many orders of magnitude higher energy flux densities than so called renewables. Well over half the world’s economically viable recoverable fossil fuels have been consumed while over 3 billion human inhabitants live in “energy poverty:” over 1.5 billion without electricity. Once fossil fuels are depleted beyond the point of economically viable production there is only one energy source available to provide the Earth’s energy needs. That is the conversion of matter into energy as formulated in the equation E=mc2. Man must learn to generate energy based on his knowledge of the laws of physics and the interchangeability of matter into energy. Today we have started with the baby step of nuclear fission. Fission is practical and works today but is unsustainable due to radioactive waste issues. Therefore, we must immediately invest in the experimental understanding of the science leading to the successful demonstration of controlled atomic fusion followed by the R&D needed to commercialize it. Fusion is 100% safe, uses virtually unlimited fuel cycle non-radioactive light element components, and produces no significant radioactive byproducts. In the alternative, man will run out of fossil fuels. AGW is then a 100% moot point because hydrocarbon fuels are not being burned in material quantities. Under these conditions worldwide population will shrink to preindustrial revolution levels of about 10% of today’s population or about 700,000 750 million people worldwide.

Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) or climate change is not the BIG problem its advocates make it out to be. Even if it could be proved that man is creating it through his use of hydro-carbon fossil fuels, it is not the truly BIG problem.

Climate change has always been a part of the Earth’s dynamic atmospheric system. During the last 2 billion years the Earth’s climate has alternated between a frigid “Ice House” climate, today’s moderate climate, , and a steaming “Hot House” climate, as in the time of the dinosaurs.

Principal contributing factors to the variability of the Earth’s median temperature and climate are the Earth’s complex orbit in the solar system as defined by the Milankovitch cycles, the sun’s variable radiated energy output, and geological factors on Earth such as undersea volcanic activity leading to inconsistent temperature gradients in the oceans.

This chart shows how global climate has changed over geological time.

climate change graph

Unfortunately, the potential threat of predicted future climate change has been used to transfer enormous amounts of money from wealthy nations to poor nations [1]. This has enabled the survival instinct mechanisms of the climate change community. That includes governments, consultants, and scientific researchers who simply study the perceived problem and generate academic journal articles and reports. The ineffective green energy solutions manufacturing and service industry also owes their life…and government subsidies…to the climate change scare. No serious money raised by the “climate scare” has been spent on solving the BIG problem.

The BIG problem is the fact that man was provided with about 400 years’ worth of hydrocarbon based fossil fuels which took several hundred million years to be created on Earth. The energy came from the Sun[2]. Integrated over large amounts of geological time, daily Sun energy was converted into chemicals through plant photosynthesis. These chemicals can, in-turn, be ignited to release the stored energy through an oxidation reduction reaction with oxygen [3]. Once they are gone they are gone in human life cycle terms.

What is energy? A physicists will answer by saying “the ability to perform work.” They will elaborate by saying: “energy is a property of objects which can be transferred to other objects or converted into different forms, but cannot be created or destroyed.”

A housewife will say energy is what moves our cars, powers our airplanes, cooks our food, and keeps us warm in the winter – cool in the summer.

You cannot power a world estimated to have 9 billion people by 2060 on energy produced from solar cells and wind turbines.

They are not sustainable meaning they cannot create enough energy quickly enough to reproduce themselves (build more) and provide energy to man. The reason is that the amount of energy received from the Sun is far “too dilute” meaning a very small amount of energy is received per square unit of surface area for relatively short periods of time given the day-night cycle and weather conditions [4].

Wind energy is a secondary effect of solar energy because wind is created by the atmosphere’s absorption of the Sun’s thermal energy in combination with the Coriolis force effect [5]. This is based on the rotation of the Earth coupled with atmospheric pressure differences relating to elevation, mountains, and the like [6].

Hydro power from dammed rives is also a secondary effect of solar energy. The movement of water in the Earth’s vast system of rivers occurs because of solar energy. This happens as seawater is evaporated, forms clouds, and ultimately water is released as rain and snow keeping our rivers full and flowing out to sea from higher elevations propelled by gravity. Unlike solar and wind, hydropower can consistently produce material but limited amounts of energy.

energy flux density

The above illustration shows energy flux density in million Joules per litter on the left hand vertical axis with a scale spanning 10 to the 16th power in scientific notation. The horizontal axis depicts time on the top row from 0 years Common Era to 2200. The bottom row depicts worldwide population which is directly controlled by available energy to produce food, potable water and to provide for man’s comfort. As can be seen, once fossil hydro-carbon fuels are no longer available in quantity, fusion energy must be developed or worldwide population will contract to that of the preindustrial age in the 1600s. Energy flux density refers to how much energy is contained per unit volume of an energy source. Appendix 1 below provides tabulation for various energy sources.

We must begin to turn to what Dr. Steve Cowley in the UK calls “energy from knowledge;” the conversion of mass into energy [7]. Albert Einstein formulated the relationship between energy and mas (matter) in his famous equation E = mc2. This means that a very small amount of mass is equal to a very large amount of energy as explained by Dr. Einstein in his own voice [8].

We must solve energy for the long term through the conversion of matter into energy. No other energy source has a suitable energy flux density to provide our electricity, transportation, potable water and agricultural needs once fossil hydro-carbon fuels are no longer economically viable to recover due to depletion [9].

We must begin now because it will take several decades to master the science. We began this journey when we developed nuclear fission power. However nuclear fission is not a long term solution for several reasons; most notably the long-term radioactive waste it produces.

The next step is the development of nuclear fusion. Fusion is much different than fission[101112]. It uses light elements in the fuel cycle, is fail safe, and can do no environmental harm. It has the highest flux density of any energy source short of matter anti-matter annihilation.

It will take several more years of pure experimental scientific research to demonstrate a sustained fusion reaction in the laboratory producing a net energy gain meaning more energy is produced than was “pumped in” to start the energy production [13]. Once controlled fusion is proven in a controlled environment, regardless of how expensive and complicated the reactor mechanism and facility is, man’s ingenuity will take over in the private sector. The complexities and costs will be driven down just as turn of the 20th century vacuum tubes gave way to transistors and later microcomputers-on-a-chip.

That is the BIG problem. If we do not solve this, in 50 to 100 years our coal, oil, and natural gas resources will no longer be economically and environmentally recoverable [14]. Then mankind reverts back to life in the 16th century. If we do not solve energy the entire argument of being good environmental stewards of the Earth is moot. Why? Because in less than 100 years we will no longer be burning fossil hydro-carbon fuels. Global warming and climate change caused by man is no longer an issue. The problem takes care of itself. In a few thousand years the processes of nature…geological and geo-chemical…will erase most signs of our past industrialized existence.

If there are not sizable numbers of cognitively intelligent humans capable of thinking and distinguishing beauty, it is a nonconsequential point as aliens are not flocking to our planet. No one or no thing will ever know the difference. Which begs the question: “Is there intelligent life on Earth?” This author believes so. As Bill & Melinda Gates recently stated in their recentfoundation’s annual open letter, our youth needs to be challenged to produce what they called an “energy miracle” [15].

This is the biggest problem man faces. Climate change…if caused by man…automatically reverses itself over the next 100 years. But if we do not solve energy mankind’s population will contract by a factor greater than 10 over the course of the following 100 years. Collectively, we as a species must recognize this reality and begin the energy race today.


[1] Another Climate Alarmist Admits Real Motive Behind Warming Scare, Investor’s Business Daily, March 29, 2016.
[2] Tamarkin, Tom D., Energy Basics; Where does energy on our planet come from?, Fusion 4 Freedom.
[3] Heats of Combustion, UC Davis Chemistry Wiki.
[4] Lawson, Barrie & Tamarkin, Tom D., Going Solar-System Requirements For Solar Generated Utility Baseload Power, Fusion 4 Freedom.
[5] Consequences of Rotation for Weather; Coriolis Forces, Universe of Tennessee Knoxville.
[6] Atmospheric Pressure at Different Altitudes, AVS Science & Technology of Materials, Interfaces, & Processing,
[7] Fusion energy with Professor Steven Cowley, Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, UK.
[8] William Tucker, Ph.D., Understanding E = MC2, Dr. Albert Einstein in his own voice & explanation,
[9] Tamarkin, Tom D., Energy Basics, Comparison of fuel energy flux densities, Fusion 4 Freedom.
[10] Duke Energy Nuclear Information Center, Fission vs. Fusion – What’s the Difference?
[11] Lawson, Barrie, Nuclear Fission Theory, Fusion 4 Freedom.
[12] Lawson, Barrie, Nuclear Fusion-The Theory, Fusion 4 Freedom.
[13] Tamarkin, Tom D., Fusion Energy; Too Important to Fail – Too Big To Hoard, Fusion 4 Freedom.
[14] Tamarkin, Tom D. 2060 And Lights Out: How Will America Survive Without Oil?, Inquisitir Special Report,
[15] Gates, Bill & Melinda, Gates Foundation Annual Open Letter, James, Murray, Guardian, February 24, 2016.

Appendix 1

Energy Flux Density Comparisons
Energy density is the amount of energy stored in a given system or region of space per unit volume. Specific energy is the amount of energy stored per unit mass (weight.) Only the useful or extractable energy is measured. It is useful to compare the energy densities of various energy sources. At the top of the list is fusion followed by nuclear fission and then hydrocarbon fuels derived from petroleum, coal and natural gas. At the bottom of the list are batteries which either generate energy or store energy as well as “renewable energy” such as solar.

1 Kg of Deuterium fused with 1.5 Kg of Tritium can produce 87.4 GWH of electricity

Here are the underlying calculations supporting the statement above:
The energy released by fusion of 1 atom of Deuterium with 1 atom of Tritium is 17.6 Mev = 2.8 X 1012 Joules.

The energy liberated by the fusion of 1 Kg of Deuterium with 1.5 Kg of Tritium is 2.8 X 1012X 2.99 X 1026 = 8.3 X 1014 Joules = (8.3 X 1014 ) / (3.6 X 1012 ) = 230 GWHours.

This energy is released as heat. A conventional steam turbine power plant with an efficiency of 38%, would produce 87.4GWH of electricity

1 Deuterium is a naturally occurring isotope of hydrogen readily available from sea water.
2 Tritium is produced in the fusion reactor from Lithium as part of the fuel cycle and energy exchange process. Lithium is an abundant naturally occurring element.

Comparison of conventional fuel energy density

energy output of conventional fuels

Comparison of “renewable” energy density

energy output of renewable fuels

1 How much solar power per cubic meter is there? The volume of the space between a one-meter-square patch on Earth and the center of our orbit around the sun is 50 billion cubic meters (the earth is 150 billion meters from the sun, or 4,000 earth circumferences). Dividing the usable 100 watts per square meter by this volume, yields two-billionths of a watt per cubic meter. Sunlight takes about eight minutes(499 seconds) to reach the earth. Multiplying 499 seconds by twenty-six billionths of a W/m3 reveals that solar radiation has an energy density of 1.5 microjoules per cubic meter (1.5 x 10-6 J/m3).

2 The only way to extract thermal energy from the atmosphere is to construct an insulated pipe between it and a reservoir at lower temperature (preferably a much lower one). This is how geothermal heat pumps work. Typical ground temperature is 52F (284 K). On a 90F day, such a system has a peak efficiency of 7%, and a power density of only 0.05 mW/m3 (Stopa and Wojnarowski 2006): typical surface power fluxes for geothermal wells are on the order of 50 mW/m2 and have typical depths of 1 km. To find the energy density, a characteristic time must be included. The time used should be that of the time required for water being pumped into the ground to circulate through the system once. This number is on the order of ten days (Sanjuan et al. 2006). The resulting energy density is 0.05 J/m3, or roughly two to three orders of magnitude lower than wind or waves.

3 Wind is driven by changes in weather patterns, which in turn are driven by thermal gradients. Tides are driven by fluctuations in gravity caused by lunar revolutions. The energy densities of wind and water systems are proportional to the mass, m, moving through them, and the square of the speed, v, of this mass, or ½mv2. At sea level, air with a density of about one kilogram per cubic meter moving at five meters per second (ten miles per hour) has a kinetic energy of 12.5 joules per cubic meter. Applying Betz’s Law, which limits efficiency to 59% (Betz 1926), yields about seven joules per cubic meter. Thus, wind energy on a moderately windy day is over a million times more energy-dense than solar energy.

There are two prevalent mechanisms for extracting tidal energy. In one system, barrages move up and down, extracting energy with the rise and fall of the tides. On the second type strategy, tidal stream systems act more like underwater wind turbines, extracting energy from tidal waters as they move past. As with wind, the energy of a moving volume of water is also ½mv2. Tidal systems have the advantage over wind systems in that water is approximately one thousand times denser than air. Their disadvantage lies in generally low tidal velocities of only ten centimeters per second to one meter per second. Thus, a cubic meter of water, with a mass of about 1000 kg, yields an energy density of about five joules per cubic meter for slow water1and five hundred joules per cubic meter for fast water2. These are also subject to Betz’s law and represent only peak values, so the average energy densities are closer to one-half of a joule per cubic meter to fifty joules per cubic meter, or about the same as wind.

1 kinetic energy (tidal low velocity) = ½ mv2 = ½ · 1000 kg · (0.1 m/s)2 = 5 joules.
2 kinetic energy (tidal high velocity) = ½ mv2 = ½ · 1000 kg · (1 m/s)2 = 500 joules.


105 thoughts on “Climate Change Won’t Kill You – Having No Electrical Power Will

  1. Excellent post Tom D. Tamarkin, but, depopulation IS their goal ! Agenda 21 makes this clear…

  2. I think Tamarkin unfairly discounts fission power, as most (all?) of the problems with waste disposal are political, not enginering. In the US, the problems are a carryover of Carter era policies intended to serve as a good example to inhibit various bad actors from proliferation of nuclear weapons. Iran would serve as an example of the basic sillyness of those policies.

    • There are safe ways to store waste, but it still freaks a lot of people out. So moving to “cleaner” processes is part of reducing the resistance. Personally, I would not store spent fuel rods, from any current commercial process, in my back yard.

      • I dunno, it would make an excellent and efficient Water Heater for your Swimming Pool. Keep the lead storage box sealed with enough coolant to maintain a comfy temp and plumb your water through it in lead wrapped copper pipes..

        Heat your pool water, House water and create a night time glow that would negate the need for outdoor lighting

    • Spent fuel can be recycled using the MOX process, as France and Japan do. This greatly reduces radwaste volume, which can be encased in glass. US decided in the 1970’s not to reprocess on proliferation grounds. That idea has NOT worked. US then did not follow through on a waste repository for political reasons.
      IMO the answer is a molten LiF (not sodium) salt reactor running the U-P cycle, fueled with all the spent fuel lying around. This breeds and then consumes its fuel, leaving small amounts of radwaste. The Transatomic Power white paper on ‘WAMSR’ is a serious eyeopener about the Gen 4 fission possibilities. None of the technical issues they discuss look like engineering showstoppers.

      Inertial confinement fusion is a chimera, as the National Ignition Facility has shown. ITER may or may not work, but the program is already suggesting the economics are suspect. Lockheed Skunkworks high beta magnetic confinement looks promising, but underfunded. Whether it will ever be ‘real’ is unknown. High beta plasma confinement proof of principle is very far from a pilot fusion reactor.

      Take the $2.3 billion spent annually on US climate research, use $0.3 for improved weather forecasting, $1.5 on WAMSR, and $0.5 on the Skunkworks high beta mag confinement fusion. After all, the climate science is settled so further climate research is not necessary. Trenberth and Schmidt can go find meaningful jobs.

      • The late Charles H. Townes told an audience of laser experts, in a keynote speech, years ago, that laser implosion might be an excellent tool for studying plasmas at high densities, but that if they thought it was an avenue to thermo-nuclear fusion, they were all barking up the wrong tree.
        It’s a ‘whackamole machine’.


      • Ristvan, why not actually build the “Closed Loop” plants.

        Tom D. Tamarkin – “Man must learn to generate energy based on his knowledge of the laws of physics and the interchangeability of matter into energy. Today we have started with the baby step of nuclear fission. Fission is practical and works today but is unsustainable due to radioactive waste issues.”

        Man has learned to generate Fission without the radioactive waste, but Carter killed it.
        Jim Stone, Updated on July 22, 2013 – “During my journey of discovery in my investigation into the Fukushima disaster, I interviewed an 85 year old nuclear engineer who worked in the nuclear industry during America’s glory days, an engineer who earned GE over 100 patents. He was one of the engineers who designed Fukushima, so naturally when conducting an investigation into such a disaster a journalist would want that type of reference.
        When I started to think I was going to walk away with nothing new, he began to talk about an entirely different subject. He began his new direction in the discussion with the phrase “My team succeeded in closing the nuclear loop, and Carter banned our miracle with an executive order.
        We perfected the second reactor design which used liquid sodium as a coolant and the reactor ran much hotter – 1100 farenheit as opposed to 550 in a boiling water reactor. The liquid sodium circulated inside the reactor instead of water, with the heat of the reaction being removed from the system by a heat exchanger which produced steam outside the reactor for use in producing electricity. The temperature difference and coolant characteristics in the complimentary reactor facilitated the burning of the isotopes, and you got to use both sides of the reaction – the boiling water reactor produced electricity while producing unwanted isotopes, and the sodium cooled reactor produced electricity while burning the unwanted isotopes out. This process could be repeated 20 times, and when it was finished the fuel was DEAD and no longer hazardous because all of it’s radiological potential was used up. It was a clean energy dream come true, and Carter banned it by executive order!”
        He specifically stated that the burn down was so complete that the spent fuel was safe to handle directly with bare hands, and needed no special care or maintenance at all, and after I questioned him about exactly how safe, said you could safely sleep on it. I questioned him several times, saying he must be exaggerating, but he said ALL radiological potential was used, and the fuel was completely inert at the end of the final cycle.

        Now Russia has it. –

    • The ‘waste’ material is often referred to by its more common name; “Nuclear reactor fuel”.

      You dispose of it by burning it in another type of reactor. The final ‘waste’ disposal reactor is also known as a ‘lead mine’.


  3. Well we keep on reading that thermo-nuclear fusion energy is clean and green. So why is the ITER project beginning by building a huge pile of concrete enclosure mass, instead of building the clean green reactor and firing it up first to prove that it works.

    Gravity powered thermo-nuclear fusion works because gravity sucks. The Coulomb force doesn’t suck.

    How do you extract usable energy from a Tokamak ?


  4. The pitch for fusion has always been that it is only 20 years away. We need to scale that effort way back and focus on the use of thorium molten salt reactors. We have several thousand years of thorium available and a recent design offers the ability to also consume spent nuclear fuels. Regulators and public hysteria stand in the way but any rational analysis of power should consider systems like Transatomic Power for our base load systems. Our carbon resources should be chemical feedstocks in the long run rather than the source of our power. Fusion might come along some day but far too much development cost still lies ahead.

    • Don’t confuse the hype with the actual progress. There are a lot of technical issues to solve, many of which have been overcome.

    • while molten salt reactors have their attractions, there is lots more work to do, And there’s little urgency in switching to thorium fuel either.

      One just moves the radioactive wastes out of their ceramic pellets inside the zirconium tubes into a tank inside the plant somewhere. One would have to provide an in-plant solidification process stream to isolate the stuff.

  5. Tech Note:
    Appendix 1 – 17.6 Mev = 2.8 X 10**12 is really 2.8 X 10 **-12.
    Just looks like the minus sign got dropped in the WP formatting, as the multiplication seems correct.

    Just in case any alert readers out there are wondering.

    • Yep.

      17.6 MeV × 10⁶ eV/MeV × 1.6×10⁻¹⁹ J/eV = 2.816×10⁻¹² J/fusion event.

      Get a MOLE’s worth of them to happen:

      2.816×10⁻¹² × 6.022×10²³ = 1.696×10¹² j/mole (of fusions)
      1.696×10¹² ÷ 3.6×10⁶ = 471,000 kWh of heat
      471×10³ kWh × 45% = 211,000 kWh of electricity

      And there you be.
      Time for lunch?


  6. “…. there is only one energy source available to provide the Earth’s energy needs.”
    I believe geothermal energy hasn’t been given a fair chance to prove itself yet. Anyway, great article!

    • Geothermal might make sense in certain locations on a small-scale basis, but is highly unlikely to be anything more than a minor player. Thinking it might yet “prove itself” someday is wishful, pie-in-the-sky thinking.

    • I was enmeshed in Geothermal Energy Research in several of its manifestations during and after the ’80s. Teapot-like resources with high water recharge located over a geo-hot spot are viable to spin a steam turbine but are rare, located only in Japan, Italy, CA. and NZ. Hot water resources have little use because of Carnot efficiency limitations. Really, really hot water sites have problems with effective utilization by fouling of equipment with saturated dissolved solids due to temperature change, solvent water removal and acid gas stripping. These applications are also generally localized, of limited power generation and subject to resource depletion. Hot deep rock, with explosive fracking between in and out-going water wells was a government project that was tried and failed. Best bet would be using mother Gaea’s huge molten rock, deep high temperature resource innovatively (think lava), but the problems are at fusion power scale or more. Sorry to rain on your faith-based parade.

      • I would be grateful if you could point out to articles resulting from your experience. I recently visited a small geothermal plant in Oregon, which seem to be doing alright, with a fair return on investment. It sorts of fuels my “faith-based parade”…

      • Jake: the link you mention states: “The legitimate clean output of the three (wood, waste and geothermal) then originates only from the geothermal source. It generates 1.9 GW, unchanged in decades.” That’s my point, I don’t think we’ve given geothermal a fair chance, compared to all what has been done with wind and solar, whereas geothermal seem to have a better return on investment, be much more flexible and not needing any back up…

  7. I find the claim that we will revert to pre-industrial conditions (“life in the16th century”) completely alarmist. We already have fission well-proven and easily improved, under the right political conditions. The political conditions favoring fission-produced electricity will rapidly appear when people start freezing and/or starving to death for no other reason than lack of fossil fuels. Fission will rapidly fill the gap as research ramps up for other options. Politics changes everything.

    • Actually, it only takes 1,000 years to rid the earth of signs of humans, after humans are gone. Except for those pyramids. Well they were built by space aliens.


      • “… it only takes 1,000 years to rid the earth of signs of humans …

        I guess that’s why the temple to the goddess Athena can only be viewed on postcards. Likewise Cahokia, Ness of Brodgar, Monte Verde, …, Lucy, …

        Maybe you need a few more zeros.

      • John F. Hultquist

        george e. smith.
        “… it only takes 1,000 years to rid the earth of signs of humans …”

        I guess that’s why the temple to the goddess Athena can only be viewed on postcards. Likewise Cahokia, Ness of Brodgar, Monte Verde, …, Lucy, …

        Today’s quarries, road and expressway cuts, canals, mine pits, and – most obvious from a long way away – railroad roadbed excavations will last 100,000 of years. Steel will rust away, much else will get covered by vegetation and natural decay, but man’s influence and the constraints of his designs will last until the continental shelves and lava flows bury all.

      • RACookPE1978 funn, most will be obliterated in far less that 100,000 a lot of those cuts and changes are in a landscape less than 10,000 years old, most will be obliterated in far less time than you think, my estimation is 5000 to 10,000 years max the next ice age will destroy most in a few short years if we are not around.

    • “A trick promoted by the author of the article we were discussing?” Hardly. The author does not support AGW and does not support a correlation of CO2 and warming, Furthermore and to the point, the graph chosen for the initial article was illustrative of the fact that the climate on Earth changes dramatically over geological time. It was a simple illustration meant to convey that point. In terms of the fine oscillations on the top of the graph it is admitted that is a problem because it tends to cause people to focus on that detail rather than the issue of natural change by example. But there was no attempt what so ever to cut the graph off or manipulate the data. In the original on-line article I have replaced this graph with a different one most people can agree on. Apologies for the confusion generated over the use of my original choice for an illustration New chart may be seen at: Thanks to everyone for the feedback on this issue.

  8. A nice article marred by “Doom In Our Time!” ideation and “Only My Way” absolutism.

    Fission works FINE. (Governments not so much…). It has worked all over the globe for a half century. Current designs are even better (by a whole lot…) than the 1970’s design at Fukushima and the what, 1950s? design of Chernobyle.

    Yes, I’d rather have a Th MSR (of most any design) and they have also already been made and operated.

    Yes, I’d rather have a Fusion Reactor (but so far those are not working out so good…).

    But there is zero reason to think when the fossil fuels run out we all die.

    Things would get a bit more expensive, but they would still be made and life would go on. There is an effectively infinite energy supply with known proven technology at near present prices via U from seawater. That technology advances in cost reduction every day, but is already “economical enough”, just not cheaper than land based U mining (yet…)

    So first off, the whole Malthusian Running Out idea is just wrong. We never run out of innovation and THAT is the ultimate resource trump card.

    Now, once you get your mind wrapped around that, and realize that it is entirely a matter of PRICE, not of existence of a resource, things become clearer. The amount of a resource increases with price and increases with technological progress. I won’t labor the ‘why’ of those two, but they are fundamental.

    The second point of error is just the idea that we run out of fossil fuels any time soon. Between Tar Sands, Shales, Methane Clathrates (experimental project to harvest underway in Japan now), and other misc. fossil fuel sources, not to mention a few hundred years of coal, we have several thousand years worth of fossil fuels. Most of it is NOT counted as a ‘reserve’ today since it costs $100 or so a bbl of oil equivalent to produce and oil is running $34 / bbl. Yet the world did not end when we were at $120 / bbl a year or two back.

    At worst, we end up like we were, in terms of costs, about 2012 and that state lasts for about 1000 years. Or it gets cheaper as technology improves.

    Finally, just to cover it as it always gets hacked up: The EROEI canard.

    It doesn’t matter if I need to expend 5 kW more energy to lift a barrel of oil than is IN the oil. I can get that energy as electricity from a nuclear plant. What matters is the FORM of the energy. Oil makes a GREAT fuel and energy storage medium. As long as it is “worth it” in cost terms to the end consumption point to lift oil to make fuel (instead of putting electrons in batteries) we will lift the oil. EVERY oil refinery runs at a negative EROEI, yet we still refine the oil to the much more valuable Diesel and Gasoline since they are “worth it” as fuels.

    Once you realize we have an infinite supply of U and thus of electrons, it is just a question of what engineering solution puts the most effective “zoom” in the car.

    BTW, Palo Verde nuclear power flows to California (one of the major oil producing States, BTW) and is used to run electric lift pumps on wells already…

    So please, lose the Malthusian junk, realize we live in a world of abundance due to our creativity, not any particular “stuff”, and step back just a moment to realize we are drowning in energy. More U erodes into the ocean each year than is needed to power the entire planet. We run out of energy when we run out of planet.

    • Well there’s a fatal (and rare) flaw in your reasoning.

      Yes availability is limited by price. However price is dependent on the value of money.

      In 1922 you could pay off the entire National Debt of Germany, with one US Lincoln penny; and have change left over.

      The way the USA is going, there simply won’t be enough wheel barrows on the planet to carry the currency required for a loaf of bread.


      • That is an orthogonal point. I didn’t reference ANY particulr currency.

        But if it makes you feel better, put an implied “in constant dollars, euros, pound, yen, rubles, pesos, yuan, etc.” after each reference to price or cost.

        Since it is only relative prices that matter to comparative energy costs, inflation is moot to the points made. And while the $ US and €, £, ¥ may all inflate to dust, the real cost of available U from seawater will remain where the technology puts it at near the cost of land based and an insignificat part of the cost of nuclear power. Basically, the difference between 5 ¢ and 6 ¢ nuclear electricity isn’t material, whatever currency you measure it in and regardless if it someday becomes 10 New Dollars of funny money.

      • This is a discussion about economics, not finance. We ignore inflation to avoid the “money illusion”.

        The price changes mentioned by commentators are related to cost changes based on scarcity and/or changes in technology.

    • I think that the doom and gloom was not due to lack of technical possibilities, but rather to the current political climate. Already, it’s impossible to build a nuclear reactor in this country, Peabody Coal just filed for bankruptcy, and the Eco-nuts have started their attack on methane. Western culture has a serious illness called “Progressivism”, a strain of Gnostic Heresy, which may be fatal.

      • “Doom and Gloom” was not a part of this article. What was said is that fossil fuels are finite and as reserves are depleted production costs go up and up to the point the economy is chocked. Atomic fission is practical today and will remain so as a bridge but the long term actinide radioactive waste is a big issue over decades of future use.. However in the future; i.e., 50 to 100 years, we need to develop an even better form of atomic energy. The article goes on to state: “It will take several more years of pure experimental scientific research to demonstrate a sustained fusion reaction in the laboratory producing a net energy gain meaning more energy is produced than was “pumped in” to start the energy production [13]. Once controlled fusion is proven in a controlled environment, regardless of how expensive and complicated the reactor mechanism and facility is, man’s ingenuity will take over in the private sector. The complexities and costs will be driven down just as turn of the 20th century vacuum tubes gave way to transistors and later microcomputers-on-a-chip. To be clear, fusion today is a field of scientific experimental research. It is not a technology ready for consideration by energy policy makers except to the extent investments in the science and its research facilities like ITER and Max Planck Institute Wendelstein 7-x may be made on behalf of future generations.

  9. From the article: “That is the BIG problem. If we do not solve this, in 50 to 100 years our coal, oil, and natural gas resources will no longer be economically and environmentally recoverable [14]. Then mankind reverts back to life in the 16th century.”

    E.M.Smith above lists a few sources of fossil fuels that could be utilized in the future.

    Another possible source of hydrocarbons is asteriods. I read a Space Studies Institute study a long time ago, that looked at the compostion of some near-Earth asteriods, and what caught my eye was the mention that they had found hydrocarbons on several of these asteriods which they described as being very close in composition to “Pennsylvania Crude Oil” ( a premium brand of crude oil, in the past).

    So once we could figure out how to get into space cheaply and back, we should have an ulimited supply of hydrocarbons for humanity. Might not help us much in the shortterm, though. :) But, then again, it might not be all that long before we solve the “cheap access to space” equation.

    • TA, i’ve always wondered if the notion of sending spent nuclear fuel into space has ever been considered…

  10. Energy scam of the fusion variety. I just love circular arguments with links back to the author’s own BS. Found the following at the website.

    “A presentation for investors, philanthropic institutions, & individuals”

    Little surprised I am the first to see it.

  11. The author is on the right track.

    Unfortunately, many here seem to have bought into the idea that Thorium based Fission reactors can be the easy answer. They could, but probably won’t. The Thorium MSR does not exist, any more then the ITER machine follow on, the commercial electric power generating Fusion reactor exists.

    Conceptual designs for both do exist; but not detailed designs that could be used as plans to construct one. But Fusion is much closer to reality today, than a Thorium based MSR. No one appreciates that the Safety engineers took THIRTY YEARS to approve the modest improvements for the Westinghouse AP1000 Pressurized Water fission Reactor.

    And all those improvements merely made it safer(!) than the 75-100 earlier versions of that same reactor now running in the USA and providing electricity to us all.

    A Thorium MSR when actually designed and constructed, would take at least as long to license, since it shares the same problem of other fission reactors. That is a massive store of highly radioactive materials that must be kept away from the biosphere in all cases, as well as a few problem much more difficult to be proveably overcome.

    The US government had problems with its molten salt weapon reactors in that eddies in the molten salt randomly increased the concentration and fission flux (i.e. heat output spikes in a runaway chain reaction) as the molten salt circulated. Turbulent flow is a bear of an engineering exercise to overcome and predict, as every engineer knows.

    I will bet $ 1000.00 USD that a functioning power generating Fusion reactor will be designed, constructed and licensed, before a MSR can be designed, constructed and licensed. Having said that, I expect Fusion power plants able to generate electricity will be able to be purchased by Utilities sometime in the 2040s. That is how close we are to commercial Fusion Power, and the end of the so-called Energy Crisis and CAGW worries.

    • It might be worth recalling that it took 30 years to advance reactor design because public hysteria and government regulators nearly killed the industry. The notion that if a fraction of the money poured into fusion was put into MSR engineering that no solutions could be found seems a bit extreme.

      • “It might be worth recalling that it took 30 years to advance reactor design because public hysteria and government regulators nearly killed the industry.”

        Actually it took 3 years to for the US NRC to approve the AP1000 DC (design certification).

        Since no new orders for reactors had been made in the US, this was an exercise in testing a new licensing process. The old process is still on the books.

        The nuclear industry was never close to dead. Places that needed new reactors were building them.

    • As a nuclear engineer I agree. In LWRs the waste is encapsulated inside ceramic pellets sealed inside zirconium tubes (like titanium, only heavier and transparent to neutrons.)

      The molten salt designs do indeed just continually move the waste from the reactor to…where exactly?

      You’ll have to invent on-site solidification and storage along with the reactor. I don’t see any big net safety or economic savings.

      And the AP1000 took decades of engineering test programs to get where it could be reviewed by the NRC and approved.

  12. Fusion is 100% safe
    no process is 100% safe. bathtubs are a huge source of injury and death. way more than nuclear reactors. yet the bathtub has almost no moving parts and emits no radiation. the bathtub is a silent killer. it is probably more dangerous to have a bathtub in the house than a loaded gun left on the kitchen counter.

    • … I can guarantee you that teleportation of physical objects, including humans, is perfectly safe … as is fusion.

    • The biggest problem we face is the mass of humans on this planet who have been convinced that an invisible man in the sky is taking care of them !
      The late Dr. Madelyn Murray O’Hair spoke to the 1990 National Atheist Convention held in Florida. Her concluding comment suggested a far more lucrative outcome for mankind if they had pursued a path based in reality.
      “You all cry over human history, I know that I do as we see what religion has done to Western Culture for over two thousand years. Had we followed Paganism, had we adopted the Latin and Greek cultures with their emphasis on knowledge and science, it’s very likely that a Neil Armstrong predecessor would have walked on the Moon in the year 300 A D, eighteen centuries ago !”

  13. Energy sc*m of the fusion variety. I just love circular arguments with links back to the author’s own BS. Found the following at the website.

    “A presentation for investors, philanthropic institutions, & individuals”

      • Not much of a defense Tom.

        “There is no disputing that the world is facing an energy crisis of vast proportions.”

        I am disputing it. There is no crisis. I have helped operate, build, and design new reactors. Starting my career with commissioning a new nuclear cruiser and finishing it at the construction site for a new reactor in China in the role of mentoring young Chinese engineers.

        Over and over again, the nuclear industry has demonstrated that it has the capacity to build nukes faster than society needs them. The fossil fuel industry does the same thing.

        Fusion is a pipedream. Tom has a slick website. It looks like the purpose is to con good people out money. Tom presents BS not credentials on successful projects.

        One of the thing I look for on a website to see if it is legitimate, is if they hire engineers.

  14. Hi from Oz. Did the author accidentally reverse the words ‘tritium’ and ‘thorium’ in the paragraph beginning ‘one kilogram of Deuterium’?

  15. There’s one option which everybody neglects which could be put place now and which, short of moving to another star, is the ultimate in long-term solutions (unless we discover Howard Taylor’s Hereford=”″>matter-annihilation reactors): solar power satellites.
    There has been a LOT of work done on this, it’s technically feasible with current technology, it’s ecologically friendly, and with SpaceX’s latest booster recovery it’s actually economically practical.

    For those unfamiliar with the concept, a Solar Power Satellite is a LARGE (typically multiple square miles) of solar panel in, usually, a geosynchronous orbit.
    The power is beamed back to a receiving station on the ground and converted into usable electricity via a highly efficient “rectenna” receiving station. Although the total beam power is in the gigaWatt range, the beam density Is quite low and safe, since the beam is in the order of 10 miles across by the time it gets to the Earth’s surface.

    Of course trying to convince the Eco-nuts that transmitting a gigaWatt microwave beam through the atmosphere is safe might be a bit difficult, but then we have them to deal with no matter what we do.

  16. Climate Change Won’t Kill You – Having No Electrical Power Will

    I’m not so sure.
    If people have no electricity, they’ll likely start to cut down and burn trees for heat.
    No trees, no tree rings.
    No tree rings, no future Mann will be able cut off electrical power for our children.
    Cut off electrical power now!

    (My tree ring told me to say that.)

  17. I want to add a comment to your statement that “… CO2 has an extremely small “greenhouse” effect far exceeded by water vapor from the oceans…” The second part is true. What is missing is that water vapor suppresses whatever greenhouse effect carbon dioxide might have. This is how it works. First, carbon dioxide and water vapor form a joint optimal absorption window in the infrared whose optical thickness is 1.87. When carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere it starts to absorb in the IR, just as the Arrhenius greenhouse theory, used by IPCC, says. But this will increase the optical thickness of the absorption window. And as soon as this happens water vapor starts to diminish, rain out, and its original optical thickness is restored. This is what the Miskolczi greenhouse theory or MGT tells us. The introduced carbon dioxide is still capable of absorbing IR but the reduction of water vapor to restore optical thickness has lowered the total absorptivity to background level. Hence, no greenhouse warming predicted by the Arrhenius theory is possible in earth atmosphere. A person standing on the side will observe that atmospheric carbon dioxide keeps increasing but there is no greenhouse warming that Arrhenius tells us to expect. This is exactly what we are living through now. It is called a hiatus. This failure of the Arrhenius theory makes it invalid as a scientific theory and leaves MGT as the only greenhouse theory that correctly describes observations. Accordingly, Miskolczi theory makes the greenhouse warming we are told to fear and pay tribute to an impossibility. It should have been obvious a long time ago. No doubt you have noticed that the Keeling curve that describes the increase of carbon dioxide with time is smooth and regular (if you ignore its seasonal wiggle!). When you put it on the same graph with global temperature variations you will notice that the temperature goes every which way, up or down, but the Keeling corve remains smooth. Recall that you were inculcated to believe that carbon dioxide causes global warming by its greenhouse effect. Did you ever stop to think about why carbon dioxide was not used up to create those big temperature swings like the El Ninos or super El Ninos or any of the other temperature changes we know of? There is simply no sign whatsoever that it has ever caused a tiniest wiggle in the global temperature curve. Nevertheless, belief that it does so even though we can’t see it is costing the world trillions of dollars today, all of them wasted.

  18. Tom,
    Please correct your wrong, subjective assertion thst fission nuclear energy is unsustainable because of waste issues.
    In reality, waste management involves easy physics and engineering. It is completely sustainable in the ‘hard’ real sense.
    Some have let repetitious propaganda infect their minds. The claim the physical process to be fallible when, correctly, they are displaying the fallibility of their minds.
    I,vebeen close to this issue of waste since the 1970s. I cannot produce any significant objection to waste processing as the industry knows it.
    Nor, I suspect, can you.

    • Geoff

      Tom’s goal is to get gullible people to give him money. It is similar to the sc*ms the solar industry runs. But at least with solar industry puts some panels on the roof of gullible people who will have a good story to tell when the catch fire.

      One of Tom’s links is to one of Duke Energy information center. If you look at Duke’s web site, they too have a link for investors. I expect a return on my investment based on producing electricity.

      Tom wants to get paid for explaining how producers can not get the job done.

      • The above from “Retired Kit P” is inaccurate and mean spirited. is a work product of over 4 years. It is not a commercial website. It is entirely science and its purpose is obvious….to teach and serve as a resource on fusion energy development. There is no hook for investment unlike Google who recently floated 1 billion dollars in a “green bond” offering. I would suggest that folks do a google search on me if they suspect a “scam” as suggested above. Fusion 4 Freedom has become “The world’s most comprehensive Fusion Energy website for fusion & plasma science, research, project management, academic journal articles, videos, fusion politics, news, and advocacy” and we are very proud of our work and advocacy efforts. Having said that, does serve as a resource to our website which is commercial and self explanatory. The principal’s in EnergyCite LTD may be found under Founders and the Message from the Founders is signed by the two founders. To use the word scam is unprofessional to say the least and totally uncalled for. I do not know who “retired Kit P” is but again you can google me and you can contact me at the under “About” under contact. Thank you. Respectfully, Tom Tamarkin

    • Geoffrey, thank you for your comment. The Abstract mentions unsustainable for brevity. In the on-line version of the article the full paragraph discussing fission follows; However nuclear fission is not a long term solution for several reasons; most notably the long-term radioactive waste it produces. As an example, in the U.S. today, nuclear energy accounts for approximately 20% of input energy to create America’s baseload power. To produce all baseload power we would have to increase the number of active nuclear plants by five times. Baseload power generation in the U.S. consumes roughly 40% of all energy resources. Thus, approximately 600 additional 1 GWH plants would have to be built and operated to provide 100% of all input energy currently consumed in the production of consumable energy in the United States. Scale this worldwide based on population and an equivalent per capita energy and it becomes overwhelming in terms of waste issues. The above is available at: And there is a jump link to: for the numbers on current generation.

  19. A strong reason for replacing fossil fuels with nuclear is that they are too precious and finite to be burnt. We are not dependent on a breakthrough in Nuclear Fusion for future energy needs, Fission has not yet reached it’s full potential, with Thorium and low pressure reactors on the horizon. AGW is not the problem, over population is. We do not NEED 7 or more billion people, most living in ignorance and squalor. Great civilizations existed on all continents (excepting Australia) 2,000 years ago when population was about 300 million. Today the population growth occurs in countries and/or cultures/religions which are mired in superstition and ignorance. It puzzles me that so many commentators on CAGW sites seem to be in favour of population numbers in the billions.

    • Perception of scarcity keeps prices high as effectively as real scarcity. Drug cartels aren’t alone in understanding that simple fact.
      In January 2001, energy producers began shutting down plants to increase prices.” (California electricity crisis, wikipedia)

      Life has been chowing down on methane, petroleum and asphalt for billions of years without a supply problem arising.

      = = = = = = =
      Glowing streams of molten rock are what most people think of when they hear the word “volcano.” But eruptions of mud,
      shale, and salt are also known to form volcanoes. In 2004, scientists on the German ship F/V SONNE reported asphalt volcanoes 3,000 meters deep in the southern Gulf of Mexico. Later reports confirmed similar asphalt volcanoes off the coast of California and West Africa. Today’s discovery expands the number of known examples and confirms the existence of an asphalt ecosystem across the Gulf.”

      –NOAA, The Asphalt Ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico 2014

      Tubeworms – made from petroleum.
      = = = = = = = =

      Around half the oceanic biosphere is doomed when that “precious” stuff runs out.
      It’s odd that nobody seems care about that prospect, isn’t it?

    • What’s amazing is that some people still believe and espouse such Erlichian crap as you have posted. Nuclear energy is a good adjunct to have in addition to fossil fuels. This idea that fossil fuels are “too precious to burn” is total nonsense. If the point comes when nuclear (in whatever form) makes more sense from an economic standpoint, then it can simply be ramped up over time. If over-poulation is a problem in some countries, it is their problem to deal with, and theirs alone. In general though, it is corruption, abuse of power, and plain stupidity which are the main obstacles to raising people’s living standards, not over-population.

      • The point everyone ( Not here on WUWT but other places.) forgets, is that with inexpensive energy, we can manufacture any oil we require along with anything else we might need. Energy is the bottleneck, more is better just like CO2.

    • “It puzzles me that so many commentators on CAGW [skeptic] sites seem to be in favour of population numbers in the billions.”

      Population numbers ARE in the billions . . Please tell us about your final solution, Freddy …

  20. “The above from “Retired Kit P” is inaccurate and mean spirited.”

    I can see why Tomer T would think so. In the next post he writes.

    “Scale this worldwide based on population and an equivalent per capita energy and it becomes overwhelming in terms of waste issues. ”

    This is just not true. If all my electricity came from fission, my portion would be about the size of a baseball. You could put it in a 55 gallon drum full of cement and safely bury it in safely in the backyard. We do not do that but it illustrates that it is not a per capita issue.

    Tomer T is just making stuff up. Lots of people here do that. Some people are
    Lazy, some ignorant, some have an agenda, and some are running a con. I think Tomer T is a sc*m artist making a living by taking money from gullible people. Since the response is blah, blah, blah; I will continue to warn people.

    Nothing mean spirited about it. I have never had to apologize either because I was wrong.

    For the record many people here provide informative posts. Making the effort to share what they know. That why I make an effort to post.

    • has become “The world’s most comprehensive Fusion Energy website for fusion & plasma science, research, project management, academic journal articles, videos, fusion politics, news, and advocacy.” See also: Again, the gentleman above has made allegations both regarding scientific issues I have written about as well as the issue of “taking gullible peoples money.” Yet this person has not come forward with a name, address, etc. Hardly credible;most certainly unprofessional. As stated before, the purpose of the Fusion 4 Freedom website is to serve as an educational resource for non-scientists in the fusion energy area.

  21. It was originally planned to shoot the toxic remains from the nuclear process into space, but as is usually the case in our Capitalist system, a few influential individuals pursued the hidden profits available and convinced Congress to store it in our backyard. Given the fact that NASA is now a mere shell of it’s former greatness, we don’t even have the ability to send our own astronauts into space without relying on the Russians !

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