If you go back in history, most regulations that we have today started out in response to a problem. Contrary to what some believe, they didn’t originate for no reason at all in the halls of Congress, or from the cubicles of government bureaucrats.
They originated to solve a problem. And in most cases, they originated because of the obvious damage that had been caused when there were no rules in place. Think about banking. Think about monopolies. Think about contaminated food. Think about discrimination.
In reality, most regulations were only put in place after people were injured or killed, or after they’d suffered financially, or after they’d been treated unfairly.
Many of the regulations probably missed the mark in some way or another. Perhaps they didn’t address all the problems. Or perhaps they went too far in some respects.
Taking a knee-jerk stance against regulation is really just as short-sighted as thinking that more regulation is always better. The real point is that we need smart regulation. It is not easy to attain smart regulation in a complex and changing world, but we will never achieve that goal if we draw lines against regulation altogether.
NBF – We need to test, review and simulate regulations and verify that we are minimizing and rolling back bad regulations and determining how to achieve efficient controls.
According to many studies on the economics of climate change (2006 Stern Review; World Bank; National Bureau of Economic Research), the effects of even a moderate temperature rise of 2°C (~3.6°F) would cost the world several trillion dollars per year, although that rises the longer we wait to react.
These costs are tricky to calculate and fraught with uncertainties, but the relative values are reasonable. The costs include lost crop yields, drowned coastal land, destroyed fisheries, extreme weather effects, more energy for cooling, more desalination for drinking water, even a significant loss of pollinators. The number and complexity of effects is stunning simply because it involves the whole world.
To prevent the worst effects will cost the world about 2% of global GDP per year, or just over a trillion dollars, although that figure also rises the longer we wait. Since our total energy costs are about 2% of global GDP, this is a significant cost to bear, basically doubling our energy costs. By the same token, 2% of GDP is not a horrendous amount to invest in saving the world as we know it.
The USA is presently at 36% gas, 32% coal, 19% nuclear, 7% hydro, 3% biomass and 3% wind+other. To move this mix to zero coal, 45% gas, 35% nuclear and 20% renewable would reassign coal’s share to gas (+9%), nuclear (+16%) and renewables (+7%). This would reduce relative CO2 emissions by 50% over the present mix. But the total energy produced would be 25% higher, which means there would be only a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions over the present.
Only a 40% reduction? And this from a radical change in the mix that eliminates coal and halves oil, and assumes we only grow to 5 trillion kWhrs/yr. And that we ramp up nuclear and renewables dramatically. The requirement that we decarbonize our energy mix by 60% in order to avoid the worst of climate change means even more radical changes. And not just by us. The lesson here is that we are not being ambitious enough.
But in summary, implementing this new mix would cost about $7.4 trillion between now and 2040. $3.4 trillion would be infrastructure and construction, and the rest fuel and operations. Rebuilding the same mix as we have now would cost about $7.5 trillion with only about $1.7 trillion in infrastructure and construction, and the rest fuel and operations.
Nextbigfuture nuclear articles
What is “Business as Usual” in terms of now to 2030? 2050?
The world should shift to a lot more usage of nuclear energy, and would also benefit from more solar and wind generation. It would be better to shift to non-carbon based energy production than remain in “Business as Usual”.
The recent Lenzen paper on energy return has many problems with its approach to nuclear. The report more than doubles the actual energy cost of enrichment, underestimates the lifetime of nuclear plants and often references the biased van Leeuwen and Smith which is littered with agenda.
A German court has overturned the Greentec Awards disqualification of a dual fuel molten salt reactor. The DFR was winning the German public voting for the Aug 30 2013 awards. Now an appeals court has overturned that disqualification.
MSR technology is winning German public opinion on best green technology. Green group could not handle it and disqualified them. German court overrules the disqualification.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.