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Climate Change Notes

Updated 5 hours ago

Climate Change

Personal notes as I explore the subject of climate change.

I'm currently working on making this into a published book. Interested? Let me know with this quick form.

See the book's webpage

View as a Gitbook (PDF | ePub | Mobi)

Why research this?

There are a lot of problems with the world. A lot of the major issues (war, human displacement, destruction of natural spaces, etc.) lead back fairly directly to issues with energy.

Climate change is one of the symptoms of the issues surrounding human use of energy. But it's also the issue which has most directly driven research towards energy solutions.

I want to learn more about the crisis which is most likely to kill humanity on a short time scale, get a sense of how this will occur, and see what solutions have been explored in this space.

How do I use this book?

If you're in the Gitbook, you can hover over or click on links. Underlined links are glossary terms (hover or click to read descriptions); non-underlined links are citations - hover to read bibliography or click to access articles or links to books.

How is this organized?

Main sections have an introduction to what is there; they will also have a "stubs" section for unsorted notes and pieces which don't yet deserve their own sections.

Glossary section includes some pieces which are not necessarily mentioned in the notes. They should serve as an introduction to the key terms and description of processes in the space.

Bibliography section is annotated with a basic description per source, but I haven't yet found a good way to have it display in the gitbook. Work in progress.

Areas of opportunity is a great place to start if you're looking for ways an engineer might work in this space or what some key questions might be.

Meta-notes: what is here, and what is missing?

Overall comments

  • In general, this book is full of weird levels of specificity. The aim: provide broad context and increasing detail in promising areas. This doesn't always play out & can be corrected
  • Much of this is US-centric. Haven't decided if this is as it should be or not– climate change is global, but if the intent is to provide actionable and timely notes, focus on just one area is likely appropriate/international examples are good where adaptable/usable as prior art
  • What's a good way to link in the various lists (entities in particular) to the descriptive notes?
  • These notes are highly pragmatic and occasionally technical. There is almost no treatment of social justice. My tentative assessment is that this choice narrows target readership to engineers & entrepreneurs over activists and policymakers, which is useful to focus.
  • How much explanation of specific mechanisms is appropriate/useful? E.g. do we need to know that a battery stores energy, or that different chemistries have specific characteristics, or what the market trends are with those battery chemistries? What has useful shelf life, and how can I get people into position to seek information beyond my resources?

Specific area assessments

Areas of Opportunity

  • Potentially the most interesting section, might be blindingly naive, might be unfocused. Hard to tell at this point.

Entities

  • This probably makes sense only as personal notes, not useful for me to make a yellow pages unless for immediate use on a project
  • Funds: Might be most useful to ID how to find funds vs. taking notes on specific funds. How grants work, how other funding types work. Challenging to do this without reaching beyond my experience.

Causes

  • More of a let's-get-up-to-speed than an in-depth analysis. Patchy but could be handy to reference as intro to issues we are trying to solve.
  • Causes boils down to: we need to reduce fossil fuel emissions in a lot of ways

Energy

  • Biofuel is fairly complete as a basic intro to the issue for non-chemists. Not much there for "where do we go next?"
  • Coal is good but very US-centric
  • Geothermal is very basic, could use filling out. Also, do I have notes on "fake geothermal" e.g. server farm heat harvesting?
  • Infrastructure is already long but could use some work. Will likely only make sense as case studies. There is currently a decent level of case study into CA DER policy but not much about overarching trends
  • Natural gas is pretty good, link to or pull from my Medium post on the topic?
  • Nuclear shows controversy well but fails to ID current work in the area. Help readers understand not just how they feel about the subject, but where they might be impactful!
  • Oil section is mostly just a discussion of peak oil. This section needs more direction. What is the point of it? Does it need a controversy section? Are there pro-env. uses of oil that it would be interesting to discuss (e.g. efficiency of combustion engine + fuel density of oil)?
  • Solar section is surprisingly short. Seems appropriate that it is tech trend focused, but doesn't give much "so what"/no call to action
  • Storage could use a policy/interaction with ISO & utilities section
  • Tidal section is good
  • Wave section barely exists
  • Wind section is messy and feels outdated. What is current state of the art in this field?

Solutions

  • The notes on Cap and Trade notes are currently in solutions/policy but belong in solutions/economic (policy is only one possible implementation of an inherently economics-based solution)