The world's population will top nine billion by 2060. Because of climate-change-induced environmental degradation, scientists project that tens of millions of people will move into today's small and medium-size cities. To prepare for the influx, says Dennis Frenchman, an architect and professor of urban planning at MIT, city designers must make decisions today to mitigate the migration of tomorrow. And those decisions should focus on making systems more efficient.
Transportation networks need to be rethought to limit congestion. Politicians should offer incentives to manufacturing firms to relocate to city centers to decrease the number of commuters. Power generation and food production should become local, too; reducing transmission and transportation costs would keep prices lower. Further, Frenchman says, single-purpose-use spaces like shopping centers and housing developments should be swapped for mixed-use neighborhoods that contain homes, medical offices, stores, schools and offices. With essential services packed into one relatively small area, even the densest city would feel more like a small town.
COMMUNITY-SHARED ELECTRIC CARS
Lots of people, each with a private car, means lots of traffic, pollution and wasted space in the form of parking lots. The designers of the MIT Media Lab prototype CityCar say communal microcars will alleviate crowded roads. The two-seat, all-electric CityCar is best used for point-to-point trips within a few-mile radius. When not in use, the car folds up and stacks together with other CityCars.
Power lines can lose up to 425 kilowatts per mile of cable. To reduce loss and keep energy prices lower, cities must integrate power generation into neighborhoods. One possible power source is a microsize nuclear power plant, such as GE Hitachi's PRISM. The PRISM's reactors would use recycled nuclear fuel to generate 300 megawatts—enough to supply 240,000 homes.
As more people crowd into cities, average apartment size will decrease, probably to about 300 square feet, Frenchman says. To make such a small area feel less cramped, every space in the home must be multifunctional. For example, furniture could fold out of walls, and windows made from transparent OLEDs, like ones that Samsung first demonstrated in 2010, would serve as a TV or could be made opaque on command to reduce cooling costs.
REALLY LOCAL EATS
To keep food-transportation costs down, engineers should construct vertical farms, such as the ones proposed by Columbia University public-health professor emeritus Dickson Despommier, that could provide fresh produce and fish to local neighborhoods. Apartment residents will grow personal gardens on the facade of their buildings with pre-seeded panels plugged into built-in wall slots, says Kent Larson, an architect at the MIT Media Lab.
Recycling will limit material waste, but the process is energy-intensive. In the LO2P Recycling Center, envisioned by designers Gael Brule and Julien Combes, a turbine harnesses wind power to run a recycling plant in the building, while carbon dioxide from the plant reacts with calcium to become lime in the LO2P's mineralization baths. Calera Corporation in California developed the process and today uses the lime to make cement.
The mixed-use concept is the basis for architect Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans's Flat Tower. In addition to having offices, recreation areas and a rail transit hub, the Flat Tower could house 40,000 people. Schirr-Bonnans says that the conventional skyscraper model—a tower surrounded by green space—leads to the isolation of communities from one another. A greenbelt area under the building would encourage communities to interact.
It's a pretty scary totalitarian climo-nazi dystopia Frenchman envisions. But if it means razing the sort of single-dwelling ivory-tower that can spawn such a go-green-Goebbels, then I'm all for it.
The mini-nuke idea is counter to the worldwide trend post-Fukushima, where most "first-world" countries (exception: US) are planning for and actively replacing nuclear power with solar and other renewable sources. Surprised the article doesn't mention solar at all.
Many of the climate change leaders are recanting. When do people give up on this nonsense?
In any case, I'd be glad to see a strategy shift from trying to prevent [what's not going to happen] to Embrace the Change and slowly prepare for it while continuing to monitor.
Solar Towers with Molten Salt Heat storage is an excellent idea that is happening already.
Thorium reactors also with molten salt is a fantastic idea. One was built in the 60's and the idea scrapped since the fuel couldn't be used to build weapons, but now that we're living in this totally world peace environment, why not put thorium reactors all over the country and strengthen the grid while you're at it? Thorium reactors are extremely safe. Search this publication for an excellent article about them.
Bob's statement about climate change leaders recanting is incorrect.
Actually very few countries are having anything other than a full steam ahead strategy for nukes with China well ahead of the pack, with major work being done on completely American designed pebble bed, fast breeder, and thorium technology.
With the abysmal failure of solar and wind technology and the complete waste of over a trillion dollars of taxpayer subsidy, American's will find themselves buying penny a kwh nukes from China developed from American R&D coming over on shipping containers.
Fuku an accident caused by corruption in an ancient fifties designed reactor, impossible in a modern nuke, resulting in no deaths and a year later damage confined to the reactor itself, confirmed the incredible safety of nukes even in a worst case accident.
In fact if the money wasted to date on wind and solar (35 and 85 cents a kwh) with low efficiency gas backup producing less energy and more GHG's than if the wind/solar was just skipped and high efficiency gas used instead, had been spent on nuke power the world would now be coal free saving a million lives annually from coal air pollution. The impeding warming precipice would have be moved back 50 years or more potentially saving billions of more lives.
Without gas or hydro backup and its enormous subsidy in money and blood of innocents, there would be no wind or solar.
Malevolent not so renewable advocates might start wondering if their uninformed Big Oil funded opposition to a nuke conversion is worth the pollution deaths of three million folks worldwide every year the conversion is delayed and the deaths of billions more when they cause us to slide over the fast approaching climate precipice.
The world's foremost climatologist James Hansen tells us these Denialists are drunk on spiked Green Koolaid - there is a no future for civilization without a massive conversion to nuclear power in a 15 year nuke build program impossible with renewables.
I appluad people for their opinions. I really like to see people comment on PoPSCi! But for those who push those opinions as facts, they need to give supporting evidence to back up those opinions.
"I respect you opinion but"
Many recanting climate change leaders are wrong, some just want to go against the norm. If you really look at the world as a whole, statistically from the past, taking geology in to respect, and earths past climate history, never has the planet changed so fast, and in such a way. Even in my life time, it has become abundantly clear that the climate is getting worse, weather patterns are changing more rapidly, were seeing weather events in areas they dont belong, and storm intensity is far worse. Looking at a whole picture it is clear something not natural is causing this. Is it really that hard to believe it is not human interaction, when were are the only addition to the equation.
Last winter, North America was quite warm. Conversely, Europe was extremely cold. One must look at both sides of the ledger when deciding weather is extreme. Also, where are all the weather records being broken? Many heat records were made before or in the early stages of the industrial age. It's unfortunate good records don't go back much further.
These facts are cause for justifiable skepticism.
I don't believe the science exists to forecast the climate 10-20-50 years out. I do believe the Earth is a self-correcting system that will keep the climate environment in a livable state for the extremely long future. A news article pointed out last week that volcanoes could cool the Earth (Gee, no kidding)
I certainly don't know what the climate is going to be either. AGW is a money making scheme, just as all other climate scares before it. It's a tax. My opinion. Someone wake me up when the ocean is lapping up onto the boardwalk at Pacific Beach, San Diego.
99.9% of 'science' over time is in the trash can.
There are plenty of reasons to be Skeptical.
People are dying right now because of the biofuels experiment and the doubling to tripling of the price of corn and therefore many other food commodities. Why grow soybean when you can get 6 a bushel for corn?
Al Gore and friends ought to to be at the Hague for genocide trials in my opinion.
Is the rest of the world on board with this? Sure China appears to intend to want to build nukes. They are currently using large amounts of oil and coal and their economy is more important to them than GW. How about India. TATA just invented a $2500 car. Imagine how many people in India will be driving those as the years go by.
I'm sure the Earth has gotten since the last official ice age ended, no question about that. As I said originally, let's put the resources towards adapting for a change that might or might no occur.
Per Sethdayl - let's get busy building safe nuclear plants and stop diverting money to half solutions(at best) like wind and solar. You're not going to get 100 million people a day to work and back on solar or wind. Hybrids are imo the best alternative now and maybe all electric when the battery technology becomes viable and the electric grid can handle it.
The worst thing that would come out of that is clean air.
Then people could sigh and say we averted the climate change monster - I don't care.
Anyway, a combination of facts and my opinion. You all are cordially welcome to yours. I think GW believers are in for a surprise 10-20 years from now and on.
No matter where any of us stand philosphically on Global Warming / Climate Change issues, I think everyone can agree that in order to better prepare for a futue with many, many more peope in it we must begin to take steps to ensure that our children and grandchildren have the best possible opportunities for a healthy life.
I understand that some countires do not have the viable resources and depth of technology at this point that many Western and European countries have. However, someone has to lead and set a higher standard. Even if we muck it up, we are headed in a better direction than waiting around for someone else to have a go at it!
Our climate on this planet has gone through dramatic changes from ice ball earth to fire ball earth. Up until about six thousand years ago the average temperatures changed from year to year were by about 150 degrees and these wide swings were in both directions hot and cold. The average temperature of one year would be 150 degrees different from the next year.If the average temperature of this year is 50 degrees then the average temperature of the next year would be either a -200 degrees or a +200 degrees. The swings in temperature were so great nothing like agriculture or anything like our living standards could be sustained.
This current six thousand year calm in earth weather is the unusual not the usual. Our mild weather is not the default weather state of this earth. The climatologists are talking about a tipping point. At what point does the climate switch back to its default.
I love this. Every time climate change is brought up, a shitstorm erupts in the Popsci comments section. It's like magic, mention climate change and suddenly, EVERYONE IS A CLIMATOLOGIST. It's absolutely eerie! Not to mention people bring up STUNNING NEW REVELATIONS that turn the entire debate on it's head, revelations that are COMPLETELY NEW TO SCIENCE, which climatologists have never considered in their wildest dreams, such as CLOUDS and the SUN. Or, even better, these BRAVE, INTREPID EXPERTS will have uncovered a VAST GLOBAL CONSPIRACY driven by a money-hungry cabal of scientists that have manufactured consensus everywhere from Argentina to Zimbabwe in order to get funding for the nefarious purpose of STUDYING THE PHENOMENON FURTHER!
Kidding aside, this is just like the evolution "debate." The only one's debating are those that don't understand and aren't experts, and those laypeople that try to defend the experts. There is no debate among those that actually study it. Sure, like evolution, they quibble over the particulars, but they near-unanimously agree that it's happening, and that humans are a factor. Seeing as I'm not qualified to either dissent with the scientific consensus nor am I qualified to accurately represent their findings to the denialists, I'm just going to leave the "debate" to the rest.
Always defer to facts rather than philosophy.
Speaking of facts, how about some credible sources to back up these opinions by all the above posters? Without sources, these comments are really pointless.
I would not consider them pointless, but simply what they are, opinions. You opinion is worth considering too. From free speech to voting our individual point of view matters!
Still, with the internet at our finger tips, how easy is it to make a comment and then include a credit scientific factual link supporting that comment. Ah that would be helpful.
In my general observation of life and my opinion now, as efficent as nuclear energy maybe, it does not seem we have come up yet with an efficent managment system for the disposal of waste nuclear energy. For me, when I read article promoting nuclear energy, the articles goes tend to great length of the pros and almost nothing concrete of a solid statment is said, "This is how we will safely, efficently dispose of the waste", that point is always left off.
I really have enjoy the variety of people commenting today.
KUDOS to ALL OF YOU!
Community Shared Electric Cars:
Good idea in concept but I think large-scale implementation would be difficult. We'll have to slowly phase this in to see how it takes.
I love the idea in a different form: Thorium Reactors, 0% chance of melting down, very low amounts of waste produced, easy to shield radiation. I don't know all that much about nuclear battery systems (which is essentially what these micro nuclear plants are), but I'd rather see Thorium take root. While I love renewables (and thorium is technically a renewable source), solar, wind, and geothermal can't provide the consistent and scalable power we need. They are great supplemental energy sources, but for not, not yet developed enough to be primary energy sources.
Really Local Eats
Again, love the idea of Vertical Farms. Some designs even call for fish and poultry production. I envision the VF itself producing and selling food, but a micro-economy could sprout around it specializing in prepared foods: restaurants, pickled/spiced foods, butchers, etc. Its a win-win for everybody!
I do believe there is a cleaner/more productive way to recycle, but hardly studied in the area.
We're essentially talking about an arcology. And I'm all for it.
"This is how we will safely, efficiently dispose of the waste"
OK here it is. I'm sorry you have so much trouble doing simple research on your own.
All the world's nuke waste would fit on a football field - this while awaiting destruction in Gen IV reactors like India's new unit - cheaper than a gas plant, in service this year and first of 5 to 2020. It is enough fuel to power all the world's energy needs for a thousand years.
The Brits are entertaining GE's proposal to build its Prism reactor on its own dime to eliminate waste in that country. This solution is impossible in the US because of the malevolent antinuke movement which runs the White House.
The tiny amount left is the same level as higrade natural uranium. Shove it back in the mine shaft.
Finland and Sweden are perfectly happy with their waste solution burying the tiny amount of the stuff underground. The only problem with America's solution - Yucca - is the White House.
Given the silliness of this irrational fear, we need to ask the low information nonuker why they would rather destroy the world in a rapidly approaching civilization ending global warming precipice than lose a football field to nuke waste.
Some of what you say it true, some sounds political in nature, and in and of its self false. Sounds like something rush limbaugh would say. Look at china please. There use of coal and oil has lead them in just a few years to have more than half their available land that could be farmed to be useless and dry, a dust bowel in essence. Im not saying climate change is a fact, but its better safe than sorry. I can say its might be happening , you cant say its definitely not happening. As for beaches, there is none in ocean city nj anymore, all but gone during high tide, its a real shame, when i was a child it was beautiful.
Science is based on evidence. This is a science site. You made erroneous statements unsupported by fact.
We don't know the long term casualties of the Fuku meltdown. It's not longterm yet.
To say solar and wind is wasted money is like saying you shouldn't work out for 30 minutes a day because you don't burn all the calories in that 30 minutes required to break even for the day. Every little bit counts and searching for a "perfect solution" is what we teach children not to do because it leads to inaction. The first cars got very poor gas mileage, should we have stopped producing them before horses were more efficient at the time and more cost effective?
Once again I refer to science presenting facts when debating a topic.
Genocide-the deliberate killing of a large group of people, esp. those of a particular ethnic group or nation.
Please tell me which group of people or nation Al Gore murdered.
Volcanoes? If they all did erupt at once, causing mass debris stopping the sun getting through to cool the planet, the effect would be...the sun not getting through to warm the planet. If the sun doesn't get through, it won't be a "livable state for the extremely long future." Have fun farming with no sunlight.
As to your request to let you know when the sea level is rising in PB:
You obviously don't go to the beach often or you would have noticed massive erosion at Blacks Beach, Horse Shoes, Scripps, Imperial Beach, La Jolla Shores and Georges just to names a few. The La Jolla Reef beaches becoming such a concern for the residents that they discussed bringing in sand from the desert to "create more beach."
The information is out there Bob_F. We can't make you believe it, you have to want to become a smarter person.
150 degree temp changes year to year six thousand years ago? Hmmm. I'd love to see some scientific evidence to support your claim.
No, his opinion isn't "worth considering too." Science isn't opinion, science is based on empirical evidence to support or disprove a "hunch." It is then presented to fellow scientists to be minutely studied and questioned and once again proven. Einstein didn't present the theory of relativity and walk away. He had the hypothesis then published and discussed it for the next eleven years.
I generally agree with what you're saying, but some of it is just ludicrous! Who the He77 is "dying" from biofuel corn consumption? What, the Africans who 1)we wouldn't have given all this corn to anyway and 2)even if we did would still be starving strictly from political issues? It sure as heck isnt the population in North America thats starving if you havent noticed. Please remember: its not what you say, but how you say it! Otherwise, you inadvertently make your supporters look as st00pid as what you say...
Inequality is not sustainable and cannot be managed. Good Luck.
mjsd555, this is a science-mixed-with-opinion-and-other-fun-stuff site. If you want straight science, go to www.nature.com.
Solar and wind power are "wasted money" when they don't make economic sense. They make a heckuva lot of sense for remote communities where other forms of energy are more expensive. But when utility rates for solar and wind can't compete with other forms of power and are subsidized by taxpayers, they are wasting money.
Several of these are interesting ideas. I like the "neighborhood nukes" one.
A couple don't make sense to me. I don't see how a roughly 28% increase in world population (from 7 billion to 9 billion) will mean millions will overcrowd cities. Many of the largest cities aren't even growing in population. People are moving to growing suburban areas near those cities where land is still available. A lot of big cities, like Hong Kong or Manhattan, are naturally restricted by the local environment so expansion isn't possible except by building expensive high rises, which are then occupied only by the very wealthy.
Ditto, the idea of "really local eats." Land is so expensive in dense cities that it will probably always be cheaper to ship it in from rural farms than to grow it in the city, unless you are lucky enough to have a small chunk of land dedicated to community gardening.
@ J. James
Um, you do realize that is debate within climatology about certain aspect of anthropomorphic climate change? The general consensus is pretty solid, but major arguments are still underway regarding best practices, models, etc... And thats a good thing!
Good call on Nature Journal. The best climate change articles to get published there. I wish more people would use the site. Good opinions and you can usually find a free for view article bu searching the names of important articles in Nature on google.
About the cities, it really depends on how you define 'City'. Its probably best to go with metropolitan. And metropols are probably growing, although i cant back that up yet with a paper.
People opinions, even bad opinions have merit towards science. We pursue, create and use science for the benefit of us humans. The science we aquire, we flip it around and make use of it. So then society does get involved, often pays for this science and because of that, peoples votes and opinions do matter. .... even what appears to be a bad opinion; everyone deserves to have a voice and to be heard.
@mjsd555 - You misrepresent me. I have said all along that I don't know if it's happening or not. In my opinion the forecasted effects are over-blown. I am congratulating anyone with a strategy based on living with it if and when.
Regards starvation-a few of many
@robot. The MIT kids have solved the nuclear waste problem.
Additionally, The Thorium based reactors being discussed are breeder reactors and they consume their own fuel.
Man made global warming is a Theory, not science fact. Many respected scientists say it is BS. This is common knowledge.
Good luck to all you folks. Seriously. Enjoy your life. We're on a rock flying through space. K?
@jwjknorr, rising oceans, if they are, are not the only cause for beach erosion. In fact, sand for beaches come from other beaches. As discussed here.
@masamune2823, Didn't realize more than one person was complaining abut my starvation claim. See links above, I just type starvation rising food costs into google and picked these 3 off the top.
And the genocide referred to is occurring within the group of people in the poverty group. Doesn't have to be a particular race/nation.
@someone else. I wouldn't call this a science site. I would call it a 'popular science' site.
You posted three links. The first doesn't work. The second is about this summer, which I agree is going to hurt farmers but is in no way going to bring us even close to starvation. Americans can eat 50% less and we still wouldn't be starving, and our a$$es could honestly use it. The third link (aside from being about africa, which we can't do anything about) states exactly what I was saying before; that political issues are screwing farmers and thats whats driving up food prices and causing starvation in the poor, not the lack of food per se.
You thought I wouldn't check the validity of the links. Good job making yourself look stupid.
You environment people sure are touchy. Doesn't help your cause to be this rabid about it.
Ok, try this one.
Rising Food Prices and the Egyptian Tinderbox: How Banks and Investors Are Starving the Third World
This talks about how commodity speculation is the culprit. But you'll have to use your brain a little if you have one.
Commodity speculation occurs because of a hot commodity. A hit commodity is defined as one that is rising in price. The commodities we're talking about are rising in price because of the search for alternate fuels.
Ironic that biofuels pollute more than petroleum as well.
Or you can do your own search, the exercise might do you some good.
Oh, I completely agree with your overall point BobF, like I said before. I'm not a fan of corn ethanol for fuel in N. America, and the resources it wastes could be put to other purposes. But I'm even less of a fan of sensationalism, especially if that sensationalism has no merit, such as the claim that people are starving and dying DIRECTLY as a result of the redirection of farmland from soy to corn.
Perhaps you should read the very article you posted. As the article states, profiteering from food started in 1991 and has NOTHING to do with corn-based ethanol overtaking wheat production. Although it does have everything to do with, as you say, speculators hoarding food, but this isn't at all related to ethanol production.
Direct from the article you posted: "Some economists said the hikes were caused by increased demand by Chinese and Indian middle class population booms and the growing use of corn for ethanol. But according to Professor Jayati Ghosh of the Centre for Economic Studies in New Delhi, demand from those countries actually fell by 3 percent over the period; and the International Grain Council stated that global production of wheat had increased during the price spike."
"global production of wheat had increased during the price spike" Enough said
My argument stands: Food shortages in the third world are all political, and have nothing to do with a grain to fuel project in North America, regardless of its inefficiency. By posting this last article, you've helped prove my point.
Your overall opinion is one that I think many can agree with, but the sensationalist "facts" that you've haphazardly entered within your original post will turn off potential supporters. Tone it down if you want to make a valid point. Otherwise, you leave gaps for others (like myself) to exploit and bash you on.
Furthermore, its interesting that although you seem like a pretty conservative guy, you posted an article that touts greater regulation in food supply and trading....very interesting!
Pop sci is so stubborn force feeding this fake science called "climate change". I'm so happy I canceled my subscription, this is not science, science looks at both sides.
"Smart Cities" sounds like ghetto's to me
"Community cars" sounds like communism.
Unless you know about AGENDA 21 you no nothing about the global warming agenda.
Thank you for your reasoned reply. Yes, I agree some parts of this article disagree with my hypothesis. I will say that 1) It is difficult to find articles these days that aren't in the tank for man made climate change, and 2) I could be wrong.
I did see the 3% fall in demand. fwiw - That kind of stuff gets my nose twitching. It's like one of the GW videos I'd watched - one of the accepted ones. The narrator was talking about how some peninsula in Antarctica was 25 sq miles (a pin prick on the Earth) at some point in time and now was only 5 sq miles. He/they failed to mention that Antarctica grew in total mass during the same time period.(my look at both sides of the ledger comment)
I don't mean to and won't get into a discussion about 'the science'. (So, I didn't mention this for that purpose. It's a waste of time. Very polarized and incendiary.)
Well, I'll say I've been an observer of the human condition for a good while now. I've also seen a lot of scams and cons come and go. Believe me, this is the best one I've seen if it is one. It can neither be proven or disproven. Therefore we are left with only our wits to navigate.
Who is right? I don't really care. I'm not about who is right. And in this case, I do believe no one knows. We won't know until some time in the future.
I have been reading about starving people in 3rd world nations for several years now. And it's no simple task to find a website that says "People are starving because of unnaturally inflated food prices." :) Again, back to our wits, and again still - let's take a strategy that has the most benefit to people today and tomorrow just in case. To me, that is preparing for a warmer Earth regardless the cause.
If we are cleaning the air, making more economical energy (nuclear), and other things that qualify in this regard, it's all good.
Climate change is common sense. The more co2 and other chemicals we emit into our atmosphere the hotter the planet gets. They act as greenhouse gases. Why is the sea level rising? http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2004/2004GL019626.shtml