What do I think, What can I do?

Archive for November, 2011

Spanish elections and Climate Change

It is always interesting to listen what it is sadi in electoral campaings. Ok, I recognize it will not always be fulfilled later, or even worse, some parties make several statements thinking they never will have opportunity to make them true but this way they can improve their position, or make opponent ones unconfortable. Nevertheless, elections still continue to be a privileged moment to check the best intention of any party, and their believefs about public opinion.

And regarding climate change those Spanish elections show tw interesting data in my opinion:

1.-Climate change has not been a main topic in this Campaing, it is not strange considering the serious economic crisis. However the climate crisis may be more profound and much more risky in the long term. Renewables and energy have not been the main topic either but they have been present due to the economic consequences and recent Spanish energy history.

2.- The most interesting thing is that climate change have been overwhelmedly accepted as real and important. Even the winner, the right-wing PP party saids clearly so in spite of its good relationship with american Republican party . Europe and USA are different in this aspect, althoug in practice this can be a small difference in some cases.

Anyway, there is a more detailed analysis here. Of course it is not objective, because it is an interesting review about renewables. But mine it is not either and maybe objectiveness is just an ilusion best reached from adding different subjectivenesses.


Do we have to recalculate Fukushima’s bill?





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The atomic nucleus is an incredibly small place with exceedingly strong powers fighting each other. This power was first showed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those people living there suffered terrible devastation from two small bombs and world vision of war and peace was never the same again. But at the same time many people started to dream about harnessing this incredible power, Asimov’s classic science-fiction novels are full of those examples, I think it was the hope of a generation and a really nice hope because unlimited cheap energy would be a wonderful thing to improve our lives.

In nuclear case, however, it was more complicated. I have posted before I am neither in favor nor totally against nuclear power. Climate change is a must and an urgent risk so we have to be careful with the MWh production we lose. I also believe that we have to consider the total bill of nuclear energy, including accidents, stronger safety measurements and waste disposal for a long time. And these not very commented news from beginning of this month may be important to recalculate those costs, because Japanese again have suffered the worst part of nuclear power and it seems that Fukushima’s issue is far for being solved and clarified for cost calculation updates.

And when we recalculate, it may happen that many renewables are not so expensive. I suspect that this is one of the reasons for most countries not to deploy nuclear power plants in the last 20 years.

Three small piece of news about cars

Our old Toledo car

Our old Toledo car


The cars are something more than a transport tool in many houses of western countries, they are a dream in some cases, almost a member of the family in others. In my work enviroment they are specially important as they are the one of the main targets of the steel we produce, so we talk frequently about cars, along with soccer and weather it is a confortable subject to talk about. My opinion and the opinion of many of my colleagues is quite different regarding cars and this helps me to think a bit about my ideas about transport.

This last week I remenber 3 unimportant conversation and news that show this divergence. One by one:

  1. One colleague is going to buy a car and I asked him if he thought about buying an hybrid one (we are two with hybrid cars now my wonderful Prius and a new lexus one). He told me that two motors in the same car and the necessary control is too complex, he is not sure about the madurity of the technology. It is an original argument because it does not talk about the cost. Of course I beleive hybrid cars are reliable enough, at least mine is 6 years old and works wonderfully well. (I will talk about it in another post).
  2. The second one is a conversation about fuel consumption of the Prius. One colleague remembered a figure about 7 lt/100Km. Whereas I never said this amount becasue my experience is that it is close to 5 lt/100Km but from the lower side.
  3. The final one was a nice documentary in the TV about a man that built a flying car and the dream that most of the cars will be like this in the future avoiding traffic jumps, long roads,… Freedom of movement is a wonderful dream, even for me but we need a realistic fuel for it. For the moment it seems more realistic to go towards low consumtion cars, better used ones, mass transit, woirking more at home or just walking or using bicicles.

In any case transportation is one of the biggest challenges we have to reduce CO2 emissions and maybe one the the aspecs in whitch normal citicens can do more but at the same time will suffer more changes. I think it is a good time to start thinking about it, start preparing ourself and start making small steps towards lower CO2 transport. The expensive oil will help us. people

A lot of people souce: Flicr

It is the news of this week, and for this time I agree with the media choice. I know it is a convention, and that nobody really knows when it will happen exactly. But, OK this is not the main issue for me. The main question is our great reproductive success as specie.  I have confused feelings about that. Certainly I am worried, and I am not alone . More people is more CO2. It is true that the population growing faster is less CO2 dangerous but it is not less true that per capita CO2 emissions have not decreased the last years globally (see figure below), so even if some carbon efficiency is gained in some countries the in the world average more people means more CO2 in the last 50 years. So we have only two ways of decrease the total amount (the one that counts):

  1. Decrease the population.
  2. Decrease the CO2 per capita.
  3. Or even better: control the population and reduce the CO2 per capita.

In most of the world, however, a population decrease is seen a great problem as it means getting old as a country and we are used to live with many young people sustaining our economies. It is something we will have to think of, considering someday we will have to stop growing for one reason or another. Maybe climate change is the first serious warning in this sense, a symptom showing the impossibility of eternal growth. Or maybe we need to suffer the consequences of natural disasters to convince us to regulate ourselves.

In any case, I am happy for this new baby, because it is a new hope for everyone. And my hope is that we will learn to be socially and enviromentally sustainable, not an easy objective but a clever one.

CO2 emissions per capita in the world in the las 50 years (made with CDIAC data)