Broadcast 1517 (Special Edition)

25 Feb 2011 Dr. Robert L. Hirsch
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Guest: Dr. Robert Hirsch. Topics: The world energy mess and its relationship to economic & space development & what we can do about it. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. You can also visit the Apogee website for this book, "The Impending World Energy Mess: What It Is And What It Means To You!" at The book is available on the OGLF Amazon Partner's website and if you buy it using this URL, Amazon will make a contribution to The Space Show/OGLF: Despite the very tough message in this book and our hard hitting discussion on this program, I consider this book and our discussion to be one of the most important books and Space Show programs ever. Without affordable and abundant energy, we will suffer the loss of much of our economy and maybe even our way of life. Space development may some day seem unimportant even to large parts of our own community. I decided to skip the usual segment by segment breakdown for this review. Dr. Hirsch began the interview with an overview of the geological issues regarding the main fossil fuels we use for energy. We talked facts about renewables and green technologies, keeping these options in perspective given our needs are now and in the immediate near term. I believe its worth noting the concluding remarks in the book's Foreword by Dr. James Schlesinger: "Readers of this book may question individual calculations by the authors, but they need to absorb the overall message of the analysis regarding the inability in the decades immediately ahead to increase production of liquid fuels, as demand rises." During our discussion, Dr. Hirsch was clear talking about the difference in liquid fuels and our electricity problems. We also talked about the energy future for the U.S. as compared to Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Europe, and China. Electric cars, wind power, solar power (both terrestrial and space derived) were discussed and Dr. Hirsch said many time over that we need to bring to bear all the tools that we can, but for the near term and now, we are between a rock and a hard place. He told us that alternative fuels, green options, renewables cannot provide us with liquid fuels for transportation and cannot make a sufficient dent in our needs now or for the near term. As you will hear, the authors even have a chapter in the book on what individuals can do to protect themselves as much as possible from these problems and even realize opportunities from the predicament we are in. Much was said about the political agenda of politicians and others which complicate the matter and exacerbate the problems we face. Listeners asked lots of questions about alternatives, finding new oil fields, nuclear power, fusion energy, space solar power, global warming, and doing more drilling in the United States. We talked about the impact of the world energy mess on investment, capital acquisition, discretionary spending, and government policy in how it spends and allocates money. Dr. Hirsch said it was not that clear how this would play out in the private sector with the wealthy using space as the model. This was a comprehensive discussion on our energy needs for the future. Several times during the program we extrapolated to space development issues but the concerns are far broader than just space. At one point when pushed for a time line, Dr. Hirsch suggested 3-5 years until the oil started declining but the current Middle East problems have the potential to speed that up. Please post your comments and questions for Dr. Robert Hirsch on the blog URL above. You can also email them to me and I will forward them to our guest.



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