Stay the Same
I marvel at how we take in the almost daily news about climate change
and then shove it down into some compartment in the forgetting side
of our brains.
But sometimes, it bothers me that practically none of my friends
act like we actually need to do something to avoid a calamity.
Most of them just go on with their lives, hoping I guess,
that it will go away like Y 2 K.
Apparently, it's beginning to bother some smart people at MIT too.
Here's the story thanks to the Energy Bulletin.
A Dangerous Energy Climate
Panelists at the Emerging Technologies Conference voiced an urgent need for aggressive policies to promote energy efficiency, renewable power sources, and carbon sequestration.
Friday, September 29, 2006
By David Talbot
"The world's exploding energy demand--coupled with the growing risk of catastrophic rises in sea levels and climate change driven by greenhouse gases--create a singular challenge that demands urgent policy action, energy experts said at an MIT conference yesterday.
"If we don't throw everything we have at energy efficiency right now, and start to do things we know how to do right now [in fossil-fuel alternatives], we don't have a chance" of halting drastic planetary changes, said Nathan Lewis, a chemist at Caltech whose research interests include new solar-power materials. Lewis spoke yesterday as part of a panel on energy at the Emerging Technologies Conference.
Robert Armstrong, an MIT chemical engineer and associate director of the MIT Energy Initiative, said meeting a projected doubling of global energy demand in 50 years, while maintaining greenhouse-gas levels below twice preindustrial levels, would require adding another global energy infrastructure of today's scale--but with zero carbon-dioxide emissions.
Considering that, right now, around 86 percent of energy consumed by humans comes from fossil fuels, "certainly these are grand challenges," he said.
As a result, the world needs to massively implement conservation and efficiency measures, install renewable power sources, build new nuclear power plants, and sequester carbon dioxide underground, where possible, said Joseph Romm, a former assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy and founder of the Center for Energy & Climate Solutions.
"Global warming is going to transform the lives of every single person in this room," he said.
"Within 20 years, if not 5 years, it will become the issue, the only issue.
It will require a massive redirection of capital."
Caltech's Lewis said the question has become one of risk management.
"If we don't cure cancer, the world will stay the same.
If we don't cure AIDS, the world will stay the same.
But if we don't solve this problem in the next 20 years,
from a scientific viewpoint,
the world is not ever going to be the same," he said. " more
Truth is, I don't want our world to stay the same.
I just wish we didn't have to change the outside world
just so we can change the insides of ourselves.
Perhaps it is just part of the necessary paradox,
If we stay the same,
it won't ever be the same.
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