The so-called ‘Green’ debate is much more than a simple ‘Left’ or ‘Right’ position on the ‘climate change’ argument.
Incorporated within the debate are a whole range of issues that need to be discussed, not least of which are the planets energy needs for now and in the future, and at the core of the debate is how and to what extent those energy needs are likely to effect climate change on our planet.
There are, however, certain realities that we need to be aware of regardless of the argument about ‘climate change’. Reality number one is, of course, that the current major energy resource that the world uses, oil/gas/fossil, is a finite resource and that as such, it will eventually be exhausted regardless of whether its use as an energy resource contributes to ‘climate change’ or not. This brings us to reality number two and that is making decisions about the alternative energy resources once the existing oil/gas/fossil resource is exhausted.
Essentially there are only two alternatives; human derived nuclear energy (uranium sourced) and naturally derived nuclear energy (solar sourced). Uranium derived nuclear energy has its own special problems not least of which is sourcing it, making it into a usable fuel and then disposing of a highly dangerous waste. Solar derived nuclear energy only has one problem and that is how to convert it in to usable energy in such abundance that it is cost effective.
The uranium sourced nuclear energy cycle option is vast, expensive and complex. The uranium itself needs to be mined from massively expensive mining operations and then processed and refined into a useable fuel, which is also a massively expensive operation, which, in turn, can then be used in a nuclear reactor, another very expensive item of which more than one will be required. Finally the very dangerous waste product from the reactor then needs to be disposed of which is yet another massively expensive operation. Meanwhile, there is always the risk of a Chernobyl-like disaster and also the risk that some nations that have nuclear energy facilities may also want to extend their nuclear capabilities and facilities to include the manufacture of nuclear weapons whether overtly or covertly.
The solar sourced nuclear energy cycle option has many advantages over the human sourced nuclear energy cycle, the most obvious of which is the fact that the actual energy source itself is free and readily available. It does not need to be dug up in order to access it and it does not to be buried in order to dispose of the waste once used – indeed, there is no waste. The real problem with solar energy is that we have not yet devoted enough time and financial resources into developing it into a viability that would make it available en mass at a competitive price. The problem of converting solar energy into usable energy, however, can easily be resolved if governments and industry are prepared to make the necessary financial commitments to further research and advance the development of the relatively new technologies related to solar energy particularly in the areas of wind turbines and photo-voltaic cells. Breakthroughs in these technologies, particularly in relation to cost, could also bring to fruition the abundant water fresh water supplies needed for dry nations via seawater desalinisation, another technology that needs more research and development in order to produce mass benefits for all.
The ‘climate change’ debate is not really a political one. Politicians are, well… politicians; they’re not scientists. The ‘climate change’ debate will be resolved when the scientists have finished their work. But, whatever the outcome, one thing is for dead sure; our present major fuel (oil/gas/fossil) sources are finite. We will run out of it sooner or later. The uranium sourced energy is too risky and besides, even that will also run out sooner or later as well.
The solar energy road will eventually be the only alternative for mankind. We might as well get on that road sooner rather than later because ‘later’ might just be too late – especially if ‘climate change’ is man-made. And, if it isn’t, then we’ve lost nothing. Future generations will thank us for thinking of them rather than curse us for having used the present energy systems to simply fuel our greed for today without consideration of them.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT…
Bush is continually telling the world that what ‘they’ hate about ‘us’ is our values. And as an example of just one of the values that ‘they’ hate about ‘us’, hypocrisy, Bush lays it on the line with this gem recently when discussing legislation regarding abortion: He will not “…allow taxpayer dollars to be used for the destruction of human life”. He should try telling that to the relatives of the 655,000 odd human lives that taxpayers dollars have destroyed in Iraq since 2003.
No wonder ‘they’ hate ‘us’!