If you haven't already realized it, we have probably passed peak oil. The amount of oil available is dwindling, so the price of it can only go up and up, plus the cost of everything else! In my opinion the American economy is collapsing because they have enormous debt, and the cost of oil hitting $150 a barrel last year sent them over the edge. For every 10c increase in the cost of fuel takes 40 million dollars a day out of the American economy, that would normally be spent on other things.
If you think the electric car is the way to go, the only thing it will do is shift the pollution from the cities to the power stations. A recent German study found taking every thing into account from manufacture to ownership, electric cars will probably only make a 1% difference to overall energy efficiency. Globally, large numbers of new coal, gas, or nuclear power stations will be needed to power all the extra electric cars, industry, and homes plugged into the power grids. Germany has 40 million cars alone, so imagine all the German car owners plugging in their electric cars into their power grid to charge them. How many more power stations will have to be built just for Germany alone to provide power for 40 million cars? Now imaging that world wide!
Lots more water will be needed to cool those new power stations. If we have a water shortage now, where is all that extra water going to come from for cooling the new power stations? A solution would be to float the power stations on the ocean. (No shortage of water for cooling!) Then use the energy, normally wasted cooling power stations, to power desalination plants.
Governments worldwide have have already started to build the infrastructure for floating nuclear power stations combined with desalination plants! Look it up on the Internet, there is tons of info on, "floating nuclear power stations and desalination". This type of technology is already available and has a proven tract record over decades in nuclear ice breakers and warships. It is very easy to park floating nuclear power plant in the ocean and attach it to a desalination plant. You very quickly solve a number of problems.
1.No water shortage for cooling nuclear power plants parked on the ocean.
2.Power stations right next to where the power is needed for most major cities.
3.You make use of that wasted energy for cooling the nuclear reactor, to generate lots of fresh water.
4.This value adds your electricity production, because you can sell the fresh water for a price.
Interestingly, the worlds Uranium resources would only last around 25 years if demand for it to power nuclear plants increased significantly! Plus, you need lots energy from oil to build the maintain these new nuclear plants in the first place.
Governments worldwide appear to building the desalination plants first. Manly because as long as everyone is convinced there are water shortages, people will have less opposition to their construction. Convincing most of you to have a floating nuclear power plant or land based nuclear power plant parked next to the desalination system is another thing. Particularly if one is parked in your back yard.
They will need to convince you that there are major water, and energy shortages and the only way ahead is nuclear. OK it will be watered down a bit by throwing in electric cars, wind, and solar farms to make it look socially, and environmentally responsible. There is no way electric cars, wind, and solar farms are going to provide all the energy efficiency that is required to have ever increasing economic growth. If you have an world economy growing by 7% per year over ten years, collectively the world will have consumed more in resources and energy in that 10 year period, than has been consumed in all the history of the world before it!
Where is all that energy and resources going to come from, particularly if one of your main sources of energy “Oil” is drying up! It is not just about the demand exceeding supply, but that what is left is getting harder and more expensive to extract.
If everyone wants two, or three cars per family, a large flat screen TV set, computers in every room of the house that are replaced every 3 to 5 years, plus a large house with a double garage etc., we don't stand a chance. We are approaching 7 billion residence on this planet, common sense says stop! This is just madness. This indulgence is all going to need a lot of power and resources to sustain it, and a lot of the world population is going to have to miss out, or we are going to end up with planet junk not planet Earth!
So as far as I can see there are a number of solutions.
1.You drastically reduce the world population. Who is going to decide who stays, and who goes. Maybe that decision has already been made for us?
2.You keep a large part of the population poor and struggling, and only allow an elite few to have power, and wealth. (Just more of our present system repackaged.)
3. We collectively drastically reduce personal energy, and resources use.
We need to refocus how we do things. How about an economy based on people, and not things. Instead of Gross national product how about Gross national happiness? It is time to think clearly. After all, an economy is just an exchange of energy. We have to change direction, for the benefit of everyone, with the positive use of technology. It will also mean a global consciousness shift, or are we going to wait until we are on the edge of the precipice?
The question is, what future do we want for ourselves, and our children?
If we don't change, we will end up with loss of personal freedoms, (already happening) lots of nuclear power plants, (on the way) and lots more junk cluttering the planet!
© Peter Daley, 2009
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