What’s wrong with Renewables?
OK then, what is wrong with renewable energy? Well, if you can say what is bigger than the Universe and more powerful than God, then you already know… However, if you are not sure, the answer is depicted in the image below.
OK, so that was rather predictable but, if so, why are we still burning fossil fuels and emitting carbon dioxide in ever greater amounts? Since the Industrial Revolution, we have increased the atmospheric concentration of CO2 from 280 to 390 ppm, which is a 39% increase in 250 years. However, the average rate of increase is meaningless – what is significant is that over the last 60 years the rate of increase has continued to accelerate (3 ppm in the last 12 months alone). This may prompt you to ask where we would be if we had not been talking about climate change for the last 20 years? I suspect things might well be marginally worse by now, but this too is irrelevant. What is important is what we do now. Now that we know we have pushed the Earth’s climate system to the very edge of stability; now that we know that we have pushed the Earth’s ecosystem to the limits of its capacity; now that we know what Limits to Growth might well mean for both us and the environment… What are we going to do about it?
Well, how about rapidly investing in existing/workable alternative technologies such as any or all of the following:
– Biogas and Energy from Waste;
– Biofuels from Algae;
– Tidal Stream power;
– 24/7 Solar power (using parabolic mirrors to focus energy and capacitors to store and release energy at night).
In the longer-term, given that the Earth’s human population is likely to keep growing for several decades yet (by between 30 and 50%), we may also need to consider obtaining most of our food from plants rather than meat (because doing so is much more energy-efficient) and most of our energy from nuclear fission (i.e. Fast Breeder Reactors) or nuclear fusion (i.e. with no waste and no radioactivity).
One thing is clear, however, we are not short of alternatives to fossil fuels! This might be bad news for fossil fuel companies but really all they need to do is diversify. BP had the right idea a few years ago, when they changed their name to Beyond Petroleum. Unfortunately, as a result of Climategate (or whatever the reason was), they changed their mind and decided that such a revolutionary idea was not necessary; and have quietly reverted to Plan A. To hell with the planet, hey guys?