Monday, January 08, 2007

Shifting Debate On Global Warming

The debate about global warming seems to be shifting now that there is more of a consensus among scientists that global warming is a reality.

Instead of debating whether this problem exists, the debate is shifting toward what to do about it.

One school of thought would emphasize altering lifestyles so less energy is consumed, thus less greenhouse gas generated.

Another school of thought would do things like developing more nuclear power. Nuclear energy could allow us to consume as much energy as we do today with out getting it from burning coal and fossil fuels.

I believe the problem will have to be addressed from both directions. Lifestyle changes and new sources of energy that don't create greenhouse gas. Nuclear may be one of the answers.

Radio talk host Bill Wattenburg makes a strong case for nuclear during his show on KGO in San Freancisco.

I notice that humankind seems to be better at solving problems with technology than social innovation. Wonder why that is?

Social innovation can be good also. I love riding my bike. Having a lifestyle that doesn't lead to population growth is good also. What about having more free time?

Our local paper recently ran a story from the Philadelphia Inquirer. It was about how "long work hours" can lead to more energy use. Two researchers from the center for Economic and Policy Research saw a correlation between length of workweek and energy consumption. They compared these factors in several industrialized nations.

Populations that work more, tend to consume more.

This sounds interesting.

Let's have more free time so we can reduce global warming.

We can build a few nuclear power plants as well. I won't make a big complaint about that as long as I get my free time.

As for mainstream lifestyles, I thought of the phrase, "nuclear power for the nuclear family."

On a technological front, the Bellingham Herald recently ran an article about light emitting diodes in city stop lights. These new stoplights can save the city well over $100,000 in electricity and maintenance costs per year.

Less work? Less work replacing bulbs.

One can always ask, "How many Americans does it take to replace a light bulb?"

I came up with an answer to that question; speaking of things like traffic signals.

It takes two.

One is needed to run out of the car and replace the bulb, while the other drives around the block looking for a place to park.

Maybe someday we will get rid of cars and stoplights altogether.

In the meantime, light emitting diodes is another technological solution. I am for just about all the solutions we can muster.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Found a recent column by Tom Friedman saying Bush should take cue from former President Ford on energy. Ford had a plan to achieve energy independence by 1985 for USA. Among other things, building 200 nuclear power plants and insulating 18 million homes. From Ford's 1975 State of the Union speach.