Sunday, June 22, 2008

No Time to Waste

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

I’ve been writing two, three and four thousand word analytical pieces lately, that I'm sure have cured more than one case of insomnia.

However, I have come upon a topic that is simple, but nobody wants to talk about it: Energy Solutions.

This picture was taken five weeks ago. You’d love to find these kinds of gas prices today. There seems no end in sight. Energy can be divided into two categories: fuels for transportation and electricity. 

James L. Conca, PhD. is director of the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center and Institute of Energy and the Environment with New Mexico State University at the Waste Isolation Pilot Project in southeast New Mexico.

He and Judith Wright have co-author a book, The Geopolitics of Energy: Achieving a Just and Sustainable Energy Distribution by 2040.

The hundred-page book is filled with: pictures, drawings, maps, tables, charts, graphs, and diagrams in a PowerPoint like presentation on steroids. It is an easy read, written at the level of a junior high school science fair student.

Conca spoke at a book signing held at the National Atomic Museum in Old Town, Saturday.

The authors layout the scenario that the world must triple it energy output by the year 2040 in order to sustain itself.

It’s not a matter of technology; it’s a matter of political will.

Conca argues that the only answer includes nuclear power.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

I went to Conca’s speech to get a photograph for Peter St. Cyr’s site, “What’s the Word?” and this is what I found:
Five National Atomic Museum employees,
Two members of the press, St. Cyr and myself, and
Three citizens who came to listen to the lecture and to ask questions.

One of them was trying to get Concha to sign a contract to make a film/documentary, according to St. Cyr.

Listen to St. Cyr’s interview of Conca on his site.

It would seem that nobody cares.

My Take

There are two problems with nuclear power: it was born out of the research used to develop nuclear weapons and killed a couple hundred thousand people at the end of the second world war with Japan, and the fear that nuclear generated power production is unsafe.

There are some very committed people who are bound and determined to prevent the use of nuclear power in this country, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

The year 2040 is still within my potential lifetime. I would be 91, my mother’s age now. I’m an optimist, but if there are only three people listening, I have to be a great optimist to believe they will spread the word.

This short post shouldn’t put you to sleep. However, the ramifications of not considering the energy crisis, beyond the price of gas at the pump, should keep you awake.


ched macquigg said...

I have been wondering; and have not been able to find; an estimate of how much gasoline would be saved if we did away with drive up windows, and their long lines of idling engines running air conditioners for people too lazy to walk 25 yds.

Do they have drive up windows in Europe?

michelle meaders said...

"Energy can be divided into two categories: fuels for transportation and electricity."

What about heating and cooling buildings? Some estimates are that half our energy use is in buildings.

joe schmedlap said...

Good post Mark… In light of the nuclear energy ties to this state and weapons development I have to ask where is the energy equivalent of the Manhattan Project? I mean; if we could do it then, why aren’t we doing it again now on a grand scale to discover the “new” source of power? It just seems that regardless of geo-politics and finance the basic ‘’schoolyard’’ logic says you shouldn’t rely on a bunch of your enemies for power. [Granted not all Middle Eastern nations are our enemies, but even those that aren’t seem to be in line to become so]. I like to believe that the dark recesses of government house a lot of secret goings on that will eventually reveal a brighter future but really, how likely is that? I do believe that anyone who stands up and says they will lift drilling bans and put an oil well in every backyard in America will get elected to whichever office they aspire. Just like there are no atheists in foxholes I suspect that there are darn few environmentalists in a voting booth once that curtain closes and they are all alone.

meadow said...

There is a lot more wrong with nuclear power than its ties to bombs. One, it is a very expensive way to boil water. Two, it uses a huge amount of water and in case anyone has noticed, that is in increasingly short supply. Three, if it's so safe, why will no private insurance company write a policy for a nuclear plant? Four, there is still no way to guarantee the waste can be safely stored for the eons it takes to decay to harmless levels. Five, probably more than any other form of energy generation, a nuclear plant if attacked by terrorists could create a lot of harm and do a tremendous amount of essentially permanent damage.