December 8th, 2004


thoughts about global warming

Here's an interesting little paradox I just noticed.

Many people say that the only solution to global warming is to switch to natural power. They say solar, wind, and tidal power can easily make up enough to get rid of all these evil hydrocarbon burning, and that getting rid of the hydrocarbons - which are clearly the vast majority of the contribution to global warming - will solve everything.

But hold on a second.

What they're saying is, in effect, "the net solar input far exceeds the amount of energy generated by burning hydrocarbons".

So, uh, how can the hydrocarbons be producing so much heat, then?

(Okay, this is flawed in an incredible number of ways, mostly involving greenhouse gases. And many people are sane enough to claim nuclear power is the answer - although even that is problematical, thanks to entropy. All that electricity generated turns into, surprise, heat. But I still find it interesting.)