Some facts for us to ponder:
We are faced with an energy crisis, for the following reasons:
Over-population. Every year, 83 million more people live on earth than did so in the year before. There is a natural fact: there is nowhere else (not even Planet B) where people and animals can live – and where crops can be grown.
I accept that solving overpopulation is a complex issue, but there are solutions to it. Availability and use of free contraception throughout the world would make a big difference. Overpopulation results in a great strain on energy sources – and an increase in the burning of fossil fuels. More than two thirds of man-made emissions of greenhouse gases come from the fossil fuel industry.
There is a simple solution. A transition to clean, renewable energy globally would play a massive part in reducing emissions of these gases (and, thus, reducing the rate of global warming). But most renewable energy options remain unexplored (due to vested interests in fossil fuel exploitation).
For many decades we have known about the ecological costs of burning fossil fuels, but there are many hidden costs. Extraction of the fossils causes air-and-water pollution – as, of course, does the transportation of the fuels. Even the waste products from burning the fuels cause a severe health and environmental hazard.
Coal, natural gas and oil continue to be burned at alarming rates throughout the world. In China, 87% of its energy is still derived from these sources! In the supposedly “developed” UK, we still get over 40% of our energy from gas – and only 3% from solar. The vast majority of clean, renewable energy sources remain unexplored, though they are abundant and would be cost-effective. These sources can be free from emissions of CO2, nitrous oxide, methane and water vapour – and they are renewable. Fossil fuels, by definition, are limited in quantity, while solar, geo-thermal, hydro-electric, tidal and wind power are ever-present and nearly infinite.
I accept that, on at least one day in the UK’s history, the sun has not shone brightly, but why can’t the Sahara Desert be covered in solar panels? If this were to happen, the energy output would be equivalent to 36 billion barrels of oil per day! That is 2000 times the output of the world’s largest power station.
Sorry to finish politically, but: some of the world’s richest people are only so rich because they have stolen their nation’s fossil fuels (primarily oil). A radical shift away from fossil fuels would help to reduce the massive gap between the hyper-rich people and the hyper-poor, who have lost their lives, homes and habitats as a result of the burning of fossil fuels. Some level of human equality could result.