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DEBATE: McKibben vs. Epstein—Are Fossil Fuels a Risk to the Planet?

Climate
DEBATE: McKibben vs. Epstein—Are Fossil Fuels a Risk to the Planet?

After one hour and thirty-nine minutes of watching Bill McKibben "debate" Alex Epstein on whether fossil fuels pose a risk to the planet, my daughter and I were outraged that Epstein is capable of taking such a humanistic, anthropocentric position on the issues regarding the health of our planet.

Nothing could better demonstrate Epstein's complete lack of a biocentric viewpoint and understanding of culture, science and humanity than his statement regarding the Maldive Islands—an island nation south of India consisting of 1,200 islands, 200 of which are inhabited. If you know anything about the plight of Mohamed Nasheed and his fight to bring democracy to his homeland and protect his country from the rising seas, you would clearly agree that this statement sums up Epstein's inability to properly assess anything to do with what's best for our planet, its people or any other species:

"And as for the Maldives, I don't think the evidence is what Bill says it is, but in any case, they need to industrialize too."

I encourage you to take the time and watch this "debate." McKibben provides essential data regarding the threats of climate change and the solutions that can get us out of this mess.

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Read our post just prior to the debate:

Tonight at 7 p.m. EST, watch the live debate right here between founder of 350.org Bill McKibben and fossil fuel loving Alex Epstein.

"My problem is, the depth of trouble from climate change is so great it's very hard to make it coherent in a few short minutes. So, I guess I'll be speaking fast," said McKibben in reference to tonight's debate.

We're looking forward to streaming this debate live on EcoWatch.org. While the debate is going on, we encourage you to comment below.

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Read our post from Sunday regarding the debate:

Last night I came across a post on Facebook promoting a debate between founder of 350.org Bill McKibben and fossil fuel loving Alex Epstein.

On Monday, Nov. 5 at Duke University at 7 p.m. EST, McKibben will be arguing that "fossil fuels area a risk to the planet" and Epstein will argue that "fossil fuels improve the planet." We'll be streaming the debate live on EcoWatch.org, so be sure to tune in.

McKibben kindly replied to a late night email from me and provided this statement regarding the debate:

"I'm not a great debater, and I guess these guys have been preparing for this all fall, so it makes me a mite nervous, but I will do my best as always to explain the trouble we're in. The topic we agreed on is 'fossil fuel is a risk to the planet,' and I think that's the most important message I can imagine."

Check out the promo video for the debate:

This is certainly a debate not to miss.

Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE and ENERGY pages for more related news on this topic.

 

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For example, she says that locally owned businesses can lead the local clean energy economy and create new jobs in underserved communities.

"We really need to think about … connecting climate and energy with other issues that people wake up every day really worried about," she says, "whether it be jobs, housing, transportation, health and well-being."

To maximize that potential, she says the energy sector must have more women and people of color in positions of influence. Research shows that leadership in the solar industry, for example, is currently dominated by white men.

"I think that a more inclusive, diverse leadership is essential to be able to effectively make these connections," Stephens says. "Diversity is not just about who people are and their identity, but the ideas and the priorities and the approaches and the lens that they bring to the world."

So she says by elevating diverse voices, organizations can better connect the climate benefits of clean energy with social and economic transformation.

Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

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One of the challenges of renewable power is how to store clean energy from the sun, wind and geothermal sources. Now, a new study and advances in nanotechnology have found a method that may relieve the burden on supercapacitor storage. This method turns bricks into batteries, meaning that buildings themselves may one day be used to store and generate power, Science Times reported.

Bricks are a preferred building tool for their durability and resilience against heat and frost since they do not shrink, expand or warp in a way that compromises infrastructure. They are also reusable. What was unknown, until now, is that they can be altered to store electrical energy, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.

The scientists behind the study figured out a way to modify bricks in order to use their iconic red hue, which comes from hematite, an iron oxide, to store enough electricity to power devices, Gizmodo reported. To do that, the researchers filled bricks' pores with a nanofiber made from a conducting plastic that can store an electrical charge.

The first bricks they modified stored enough of a charge to power a small light. They can be charged in just 13 minutes and hold 10,000 charges, but the challenge is getting them to hold a much larger charge, making the technology a distant proposition.

If the capacity can be increased, researchers believe bricks can be used as a cheap alternative to lithium ion batteries — the same batteries used in laptops, phones and tablets.

The first power bricks are only one percent of a lithium-ion battery, but storage capacity can be increased tenfold by adding materials like metal oxides, Julio D'Arcy, a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who contributed to the paper and was part of the research team, told The Guardian. But only when the storage capacity is scaled up would bricks become commercially viable.

"A solar cell on the roof of your house has to store electricity somewhere and typically we use batteries," D'Arcy told The Guardian. "What we have done is provide a new 'food-for-thought' option, but we're not there yet.

"If [that can happen], this technology is way cheaper than lithium ion batteries," D'Arcy added. "It would be a different world and you would not hear the words 'lithium ion battery' again."