green technology

So you think your gay Prius and wind turbines are clean and green? Think again

The green taliban tell us we need to go clean tech…and green tech and wind and electric this and electric that.

But what does that all mean?

Apparently it means if we use wind turbines and drive gay Prius cars we are being clean and green and using cool tech to do it.

But the reality of their clean green tech solutions is far from their slogans and bumper stickers…so far that their claims are actually lies.

Hidden in an unknown corner of Inner Mongolia is a toxic, nightmarish lake created by our thirst for smartphones, consumer gadgets and green tech, discovers Tim Maughan.

From where I’m standing, the city-sized Baogang Steel and Rare Earth complex dominates the horizon, its endless cooling towers and chimneys reaching up into grey, washed-out sky. Between it and me, stretching into the distance, lies an artificial lake filled with a black, barely-liquid, toxic sludge.

Dozens of pipes line the shore, churning out a torrent of thick, black, chemical waste from the refineries that surround the lake. The smell of sulphur and the roar of the pipes invades my senses. It feels like hell on Earth.

Welcome to Baotou, the largest industrial city in Inner Mongolia. I’m here with a group of architects and designers called the Unknown Fields Division, and this is the final stop on a three-week-long journey up the global supply chain, tracing back the route consumer goods take from China to our shops and homes, via container ships and factories.

You may not have heard of Baotou, but the mines and factories here help to keep our modern lives ticking. It is one of the world?s biggest suppliers of ?rare earth? minerals. These elements can be found in everything from magnets in wind turbines and electric car motors, to the electronic guts of smartphones and flatscreen TVs. In 2009 China produced 95% of the world’s supply of these elements, and it’s estimated that the Bayan Obo mines just north of Baotou contain 70% of the world’s reserves. But, as we would discover, at what cost?

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Time for the Green Taliban to give up their smart phones and iPads

via pcpitstop.ie

via pcpitstop.ie

Think mobile devices are low-power? A study by the Center for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications?a joint effort between AT&T’s Bell Labs and the University of Melbourne in Australia?finds that wireless networking infrastructure worldwide accounts for 10 times more power consumption than data centers worldwide. In total, it is responsible for 90 percent of the power usage by cloud infrastructure. And that consumption is growing fast.

What is the digital equivalent of public transport?

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Beating the Green Taliban at their own game

Whoever is running the Federated Farmers twitter account has clearly been taking lessons from bloggers about smacking up your enemy.

And make no mistake the green taliban are the enemy of all progress.

Anyway, Federated Farmers have been sledging out Greenpeace about their fanciful claims over “green technology”

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Even the Germans got burned by green energy

Germans are usually much more cunning with their money, but they got sucked in by the green economy scams:

Germany once prided itself on being the ?photovoltaic world champion?, doling out generous subsidies?totaling more than $130 billion, according to research from Germany?s Ruhr University?to citizens to invest in solar energy. But now the German government is vowing to cut the subsidies sooner than planned and to phase out support over the next five years. What went wrong?

Subsidizing green technology is affordable only if it is done in tiny, tokenistic amounts. Using the government?s generous subsidies, Germans installed 7.5 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity last year, more than double what the government had deemed ?acceptable.? It is estimated that this increase alone will lead to a $260 hike in the average consumer?s annual power bill.

According to?Der Spiegel,?even members of Chancellor Angela Merkel?s staff are now describing the policy as a massive money pit. Philipp R?sler, Germany?s minister of economics and technology, has called the spiraling solar subsidies a ?threat to the economy.?

Germany?s enthusiasm for solar power is understandable. We could satisfy all of the world?s energy needs for an entire year if we could capture just one hour of the sun?s energy. Even with the inefficiency of current PV technology, we could meet the entire globe?s energy demand with solar panels by covering 250,000 square kilometers (155,342 square miles), about 2.6 percent of the Sahara Desert.

Unfortunately, Germany?like most of the world?is not as sunny as the Sahara. And, while sunlight is free, panels and installation are not. Solar power is at least four times more costly than energy produced by fossil fuels. It also has the distinct disadvantage of not working at night, when much electricity is consumed.

Great, they put in alternate energy systems and their power prices is skyrocketing…I guess it could be worse they could have put in a RMA and hamstrung new generation capacity for decades.

Please don’t let Russel force this on us

With all his new found support Russel Norman might start suggesting stupid things, like equipping state houses, town halls, hospitals and other public buildings with the latest green technology:

Local authorities and other public bodies, already struggling with spending cuts, will be obliged to fit schools, swimming pools and libraries, with state-of-the-art insulation, boilers, generators and windows.

Councils say the plan as it affects them alone would cost taxpayers up to ?50bn.

The draft Energy Efficiency Directive states public bodies should “lead by example” and “purchase only products, services and buildings with high energy efficiency performance”.

Public bodies will also be obliged to refurbish 3% of their properties to the high energy-efficient specification each year, under the plans.

Local authorities say the proposals ? set to take effect in just over two years ? may force them to make even deeper cuts to core services, such as rubbish collection and care for the elderly. It is understood ministers also strongly oppose the directive.

The Local Government Association (LGA) believes that complying with the legislation will cost councils nearly ?50 billion over the next 33 years.

But the full annual cost to the taxpayer could run into billions when properties owned by the NHS, Ministry of Defence and other parts of the public sector are included.

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