Tag Archives: environment

What’s the EROI of Solar?

There’s a graph making rounds lately showing the comparative EROIs of different electricity production methods. (EROI is Energy Return On Investment – how much energy we get back if we spend 1 unit of energy. For solar this means – … Continue reading

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How Much Land Would it Take to Power the US via Solar?

I’ve seen some pieces in the media lately questioning this, so allow me to point to some facts based on real-world data. tl;dr: We’ll probably never power the world entirely on solar, but if we did, it would take a … Continue reading

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2014 Was a Good Year: Better Than You Remember

Eric Garner. Michael Brown. The Sony hack and surrender to fear. 2014 seems to be ending on a crappy note. My twitter feed is full of people expressing good riddance to the year. 2014 was better than that. I want … Continue reading

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What’s Limiting the Impact of GMOs on Global Food Security?

My friend Jon Foley, who I have a great deal of respect for, has a piece up arguing that GMOs have failed to improve global food security because they fall into a trap of reductionist thinking. With due respect to … Continue reading

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Arctic Sea Ice: Less in November 2013 than Summers Before 2006

(This is a correction of a previous post that stated that there was less Arctic sea ice in December than in any summer before 2007. That post used a PIOMAS anamoly graph, which was not appropriate.)   The Arctic is melting. That's a … Continue reading

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Less Water, Less Oil

Here in the US, we consume less oil per person and less water per person than we have in decades. Oil consumption per person per year, from the IEA.  (The last bullet point is their projection for 2030): Water withdrawals … Continue reading

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Do We Eat Oil? Farms Are More Energy Efficient Than Ever

A common refrain one hears about modern farming in the US is that it's too energy intensive.  However, data from the USDA shows that US farms use only half as much energy per unit of farm output as they did … Continue reading

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Can We Feed the World?

By 2050, the FAO projects that we’ll need to increase global food production by 70% to meet rising food demand.  Most of that, as Jon Foley has noted, is not from population growth, but rather from increasingly meat rich diets … Continue reading

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Solar Power Prices Dropping Faster Than Ever

In 2011, I wrote a piece for Scientific American on the exponential price decline in solar power. I haven't had a chance to fully update that piece, but two quick notes.   First, the price decline in solar cost per … Continue reading

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The Sunlight is Where the Energy Poverty Is

The future world energy system will undoubtedly be a mix of many different energy technologies – nuclear, hydro, wind, solar, and some fossil fuels for decades and decades to come.  Yet I’m particularly optimistic about solar. One reason is its … Continue reading

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