I honestly don’t get it. Everywhere you go, you have people talking global warming: carbon budgets, the Kyoto protocol, emissions control, the works. It’s almost like we’re at the brink of a cataclysmic change in our climate, which will make our planet inhospitable for life. Unfortunately, the best minds of science haven’t been able to find an undeniable link between industrial emissions and climate change. Nevertheless, we have people telling third-world countries like India to literally stop growing because oh, you’re making the air warm.
Sadly, the real problem is something different. It is the fact that no matter how much we spew the by-products of industry into the atmosphere, the very fuel that runs their furnaces are in short supply. Yes, I’m talking about coal and petroleum. Both of these are essential to our world, yet we are fast running out of them. What’s worse, the scarcer these resources become, the more dependent our economies will be on them. Oil prices are a simple example. I don’t know how if the OPEC really bases the prices on supply, or if they’re playing their cards closer to their chest than we think. The real deal is, our conventional energy sources are limited, period.
Today, what we need the most is the advance of renewable energy. We’ve all heard of these: wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, and so on. We also know that there is a vast untapped potential in the form of these energy sources. Yet, we seem to be stuck with coal and oil. What we actually do is to oppose industrial growth, and in a way cripple the economies of the lesser nations. We hear that we do not have technology to exploit renewable energy on a mass scale. Then why don’t we divert some of our budgets towards developing the technology? No, we wish to spend billions of dollars to send men to Mars, to develop weapons, to go to war, to do whatever we like.
The solution to all this is simple. Research how to utilize our vast renewable energy sources on a massive level, and phase out all uses of fossil fuels one by one, giving relaxations to the industries which cannot replace coal, oil or gas. Endless arrays of windmills, millions of electric cars and solar-cell electricity generators, tens of thousands of geothermal plants: how can all this be far-fetched when science has made the impossible possible?
It is not far-fetched, but then, renewable energy would also mean freedom for many economies. Freedom from coal and oil which they do not own, and must buy from richer countries bent on neo-colonialism. Perhaps all this will only end when one day all our fossil fuels will be exhausted. Perhaps it will end before that, with an energy-triggered world war. And perhaps, the ones who yield power will realize before it’s too late, that it is more important to live with their fellow earthlings than to rule over them.