Schwarzenegger Orders Greenhouse Gas Reductions

It is the responsibility of every human being to do what they can to address climate change and other environmental crises. In the absence of American Presidential leadership, no less than Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California has stepped up to take the mantle of leadership. This first step is to be heartily congratulated. We must envision policies adequate to address climate change on the 10, 100 and 1000 year scales.
Schwarzenegger signs order to reduce greenhouse gases
Leap-frogging the White House and nearly all U.S. states on actions to combat global warming, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday signed an executive order committing California to reduce greenhouse gases to specific targets in the coming years.

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3 Responses

  1. John says:

    This is great! The governator is right on when dealing with environmental issues. He gets my vote. He has also pushed for the hydrogen highway and clean hydrogen vehicles. I have found only a few places even offering hydrogen cars But Im sure that many more will be soon. One site I liked was they have many clean hydrogen solutions and a wealth of renewable energy information.

  2. Nora Machado says:

    I cannot be happier! He was good, I knew he was!The environmental issues he is addressing are central today and when California starts the rest will follow. He has my wholehearted support even if I am far away.

  3. F. David Doty says:

    Global Warming and Real Solutions.
    At least 95% of scientists who have looked at this issue have accepted human-caused global warming as being real for at least the past several years. The clincher, for those final doubting die-hards, appeared in the June 3 issue of Science, “Earth's Energy Imbalance: Confirmation and Implications”, by James Hansen et al. This paper is scientifically spellbinding. It is remarkably clear and full of hard data backing up detailed models with amazing agreement. One of the conclusions, based on solid data, is that the mean rate of melting of grounded ice (Greenland, alpine glaciers, West Antarctica ice sheet, etc.) over the past decade has been about seven times the crude estimates generally accepted about six years ago.
    One of their key points is that if we don't start taking action fairly soon, because of the inertia built in to the power generation industry (i.e., 40 year lifetime of coal power plants) and the 60-year time constant associated with the response of the climate system to changes in atmospheric CO2, we could find our planet headed for abrupt climate change within this century and be unable to avoid catastrophic effects. In fact, they note our climate could already be “out of control”.
    What viable options are available? Most informed scientists today agree that advanced biofuels (like cellulosic ethanol and advanced biodiesel processes), wind, and solar are viable options that need greatly increased funding, but it will be very hard to sustain our standard of living without something to take the place of coal to power cities not located near adequate wind resources. Even the most ardent supporters of hot fusion don’t expect it to amount to anything for at least fifty years, and most engineers see it as having no more promise than space solar power stations, which are just a notch above cold fusion.
    Unfortunately, uranium is also a very limited resource. The price of natural uranium has nearly quadrupled over the past five years. The level of planning and construction on new nuclear power plants, along with a decline in uranium mining capacity, make it seem likely its price will double again within a few more years. The latest official estimates are that total global uranium reserves of usable quality are between 5 and 6 million tones, which is sufficient to sustain current nuclear power plants, with a 2% annual growth rate, only through 2045 at best.
    However, the age of nuclear energy is not coming to a close. Rather, it is entering a transitional period during which there will be increased development of several, new advanced fission power plant and fuel concepts that promise to greatly extend the nuclear era. The most promising near-term option appears to be the Radkowsky thorium/uranium fuel system. Its advantages include: (1) much more energy available; (2) much more proliferation resistant; (3) easily configured to burn up existing plutonium of all grades; (4) much less waste to store; (5) less toxic waste; (6) more compatible with high burn-up of long-lived waste isotopes.
    This is not your grandfather’s thorium/uranium cycle. It is significantly different from other designs because it utilizes a structured fuel package design that separates the fissile seed from the fertile material. In its first implementations, it will be a once-through design with no reprocessing, so it is not a “breeder” in the normal sense. Even so, it increases the available fission resource by more than an order of magnitude, partly because thorium is four times more abundant than uranium.
    Radkowsky's idea was to construct special fuel assemblies that could be used in typical water-cooled reactors with very little modification. These units are made up of a central seed region containing fuel rods filled with reactor-grade uranium (that is, having no more than 20 percent uranium-235) and waste plutonium. Surrounding the seed is a blanket region with fuel rods containing thorium and a small amount of uranium. Having uranium-238 in the blanket prevents anyone from withdrawing these rods and using only simple, chemical means to separate out the fissionable uranium-233 that is created over time. In fact, it would be much more difficult to make a weapon from this waste than from raw, natural uranium ore.
    The fertile blankets will have a residence time of 9-10 years. There will be a reduction in the volume of radioactive waste of a factor of two and a reduction in plutonium of a factor of 5. Moreover, the plutonium generated can easily be reprocessed for subsequent burn up. Even without reprocessing, it should permit nearly a factor of 10 increase in total nuclear energy available from economic resources compared to what would be available with conventional reactors. Ultimately, more advanced reprocessing would be brought on line which would increase the amount of energy available by well over another order of magnitude

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