Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Clean power for environment improvement

Who killed Kyoto? Its creators. They focused on measures that must cut growth. We are finding ways to cut greenhouse emissions through alternative energy sources, but too slowly. The targets set require ending growth and shrinking our standards of living. No one will put up with lower standards of living. Not even the environmentalists who are happy to cut back everyone, but not themselves ( with very few exceptions). Bruce Anderson in the Independent of the UK says let's take a positive approach - focus on clean energy sources.
There were always two problems with Kyoto. It was far too influenced by the Greenpeace-style excesses of mid-90s environmentalism and it did not include America. At that stage, the anti-nuclear power movement was at its most powerful in both the US and Europe. Since then it has lost ground, largely because governments have had to think through the consequences of reducing carbon emissions and the real-world alternatives to fossil fuels. In those days, however, a major US nuclear power programme would have been impossible. As a result, there was the worst possible stalemate. The Green Movement, though incapable of persuading Americans to consume less energy, did succeed in cutting off new energy sources, whether nuclear plants or offshore oil drilling. ... That is where the post-Bali negotiators must do better. What is needed is a fundamental change of emphasis. Instead of focusing on carbon reductions, much more attention should be given to the increased use of clean energy. Over the next dozen years, the Indian and Chinese economies might well double in size. Nothing ever seems to stop the US economy from growing. Europe desperately needs higher growth rates. So does Japan; so, above all, does the poor world. Growth depends on energy. It might be possible to use emotional blackmail to persuade some Western countries to cut their growth rates. That will not work in India and China. Whatever Mr Gore now says, it is unlikely to work in the US and it ought not to work in the poor world. Higher energy consumption is vitally important and there are only two ways of achieving it: fossil fuels or nuclear power. Although carbon capture and other technologies to ensure a cleaner burn could make it possible to increase fossil fuel use without grave consequences, there is only one answer to the problem of clean energy. Everyone who cares about the environment should agitate in favour of a greatly increased global nuclear power programme.

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