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Does the amount of land needed to get the USA to zero-carbon electricity correspond to a small area of Texas?
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37 votes

Summary: yes, the area shown is reasonable, as a visualisation of the surface area of panels required to generate electricity equal to total US electricity consumption, on a multi-year average: that ...

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Is "peak wind" coming?
35 votes

No, The Register has misrepresented the story. There are several parts to this question. The summary is: "Peak Wind" is a myth: there is nothing similar in wind to how hydrocarbon stocks ...

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Shouldn't an electric car be thermodynamically at a disadvantage towards one with a combustion engine?
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33 votes

The short answer is that no, electric cars are most definitely not at a thermodynamic disadvantage compared to a combustion engine. Quite the reverse, they have the advantage. Electric cars are about ...

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Is climate close to a "tipping point"?
33 votes

Yes, climate is close to a tipping point: the increase in global heat content, brought about predominantly by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases, is now triggering positive feedbacks. Note ...

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Are the IPCC climate change models overestimating sensitivity to carbon dioxide?
27 votes

Could sensitivity it be lower than 3°C for a doubling of CO2e? Yes, it could, as the IPCC have said in their assessment reports, and as the science has said for decades. This single new study ...

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Has Saudi Arabia announced plans for a women-only city?
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24 votes

No, Saudi Arabia has not announced plans for a women-only city. The Guardian article only says that all the workers in the cities will be women. Not all the residents. And that's based on a misreading ...

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Does the fossil fuel industry benefit from trillions of dollars of subsidy from governments every year?
20 votes

Yes, the fossil-fuel industry benefits from subsidies equivalent to trillions of dollars, each year. Yes, the IMF's figures are broadly consistent with other studies: in particular, the cost of ...

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Does being a strong free market supporter correlate with rejection of scientific claims?
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19 votes

tl;dr: Yes, being a strong laissez-faire free-market supporter is correlated with rejecting some specific science The Lewandowsky study looks at the attitudes of people who read climate blogs, and ...

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Does the UK have enough wind to power the country five times over?
18 votes

TL:DR; Yes, the UK has potential wind resource to power itself many many times over. Yes, it could be five times as much (range: 4-200x). No, its technical potential harnessable wind resource is not ...

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Does the production of a home PV solar panel provide a net benefit to the environment?
18 votes

Yes, there is a net environmental benefit from photovoltaic panels. It would be possible to contrive a corner case where there was not a net benefit (for example, having a PV system illuminated only ...

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How long does it take for renewable technology to recoup its energy cost?
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13 votes

The question cites two links, but neither of them raise as a claim the question of how long it takes for a renewable energy system to recoup its energy cost, which is the title of the question. First ...

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Has the Urban Heat Island effect on the US temperature record been underestimated?
13 votes

No, it should not be convincing to anyone who cares about using data meaningfully and scientifically. Raw ambient temperature data is seldom useful in and of itself. Particularly when: temperature ...

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Is reducing carbon emission from cars futile?
13 votes

tl;dr: No, reducing carbon emissions from cars is not futile. See also Does a car with a hybrid engine and Lithium batteries pollute more than a car with conventional technology? which directly ...

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Is widespread adoption of the electric car unlikely due to lithium scarcity?
12 votes

No, lithium scarcity is not a barrier to the take-up of electric vehicles. From Bloomberg: The world’s largest untapped lithium reserve -- containing enough of the lightest metal to make batteries ...

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Would Elon Musk's Hyperloop be cheaper than high speed rail?
12 votes

tl;dr: No, it is not cheaper. The unit cost of the Hyperloop is higher. And to understand why, we need to take a step back, and think about what the proposed infrastructure is for. It is for moving ...

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Do setback thermostats cause more energy to be used, and does the heating type matter?
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9 votes

Here are the findings from a study from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC pdf) They used a twin-house setup: two identical houses with different settings for the heating. The ...

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Is Australia the highest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases in the OECD?
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9 votes

This is going to be something of a sideways answer. I'm going to explain why it's possible to find a "yes" and a "no" to the question, and for them both to be justifiable, and both to be supported by ...

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Is the cost of preventing climate change 50 times higher than the cost of adapting to it?
8 votes

Sancho's answer does a very good job of dealing with what the Stern Review actually says, which is that mitigation would cost the equivalent of around 1% of global GDP each and every year, whereas ...

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Are air humidifiers necessary, does low humidity have negative heath effects?
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8 votes

From: "Indirect health effects of relative humidity in indoor environments." by Arundel et al, 1986: mid-range humidities (40-60%) are more lethal to airborne nonpathogenic bacteria than low or ...

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Is non-ionizing radiation known to cause any health issues?
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7 votes

Yes, some non-ionizing radiation can cause health problems. Your question is very broad - you've asked about non-ionizing radiation generally, rather than say specifically about radio waves. And that ...

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Is shared dreaming possible?
7 votes

Yes, it is theoretically possible, in one narrow, specific sense: Some people talk in their REM sleep. Some dream content is influenced by auditory stimuli. Take two people sleeping within earshot ...

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Could you drive a tank through London and not have to pay the congestion fee?
6 votes

Yes, tanks are exempt from the London congestion charge. As are armed forces vehicles generally. As long as they're actually being used by the armed forces. Other categories of exemption include: ...

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Was the cretaceous the last time atmospheric carbon dioxide was significantly higher than it is today?
6 votes

Yes, the Cretaceous was the last time atmospheric carbon dioxide was significantly higher than it is today, (and this, of course, depends to a degree on what you interpret by significantly higher) It'...

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Would lowering the speed limit in NYC by 5mph lower the number of pedestrian deaths by a factor of 2?
5 votes

The two quotes say subtly different things. The second quote is much harder to examine, because talking about changes in speed limits without any information on compliance levels is useless. So I'll ...

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Will a warming world directly damage human health?
5 votes

The Lancet published a series of papers on health and climate change in 2009. The series is framed from the perspective of: how does climate-change mitigation provide a health dividend? And that's ...

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Does each car in inner London cost society £8,000 in health and environmental cost over its lifetime?
4 votes

TL;DR Yes, though only within a narrowly defined meaning: a petrol car driven only within Inner London, that drives an average distance for UK cars over its lifetime, will on average cause - through ...

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Is Wazzub a legitimate business opportunity?
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4 votes

It's a fairly standard MLM scam; though it uses recruiting an audience for advertisers to target, rather than application fees, to build the ponzi part of the process. It proposes to be a new web ...

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How many pedestrians die a year in NYC from being hit by a car?
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3 votes

The numbers are, broadly speaking, consistent. The lower number of pedestrian deaths reported for 2013, were from Jan and Feb 2014: that's when you'd expect that number to be provisional, and to under-...

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Does a Geyser Blanket save electricity?
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2 votes

Yes, by simple physics, it will save the customer some electricity. The rate at which heat is lost by a hot water tank is proportional to the difference between water temperature and air temperature. ...

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Does the decision to fly or not have no impact on GHG emissions inside the EU?
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2 votes

TL;DR yes, decisions to fly do contribute to GHG emissions from regulated sources within the EU, and decisions to not fly contribute to GHG reductions. The paper is based on a set of assumptions. The ...

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