Kyoto – A Perspective (Part 44)

Posted on Fri 06/27/2008 by



I can understand particularly how readers in the US might bristle a little at some guy from far off Australia suggesting how they might be able to go about replacing their own coal fired powered plants, so I humbly apologise for doing that, but I want you to think about this.
All those doomsayers within the US have latched onto the cause, and not one of them has actually grasped just what it really means to those of us who will be the ones who will be the most affected. They will put on their serious face and point at receding polar ice caps, polar bears, and rising sea levels, and gloomily tell us just what is going to happen, but very few of them, if any at all, will tell you just what needs to be done, other than for those of us who live in those Western World Countries having to cut back on the production of greenhouse gases.
I didn’t want to repeat that error. What I wanted to do was to point out the consequences to everyman, and in so doing to actually try and find solutions.
However, as is always the case there is a sting in the tail. Well two stings actually, but I’ll get to them later.

I still want you to keep in mind those boring old things, statistics, because in this case, they do actually mean something.

Statistic 1. The pie chart for the US shows just a tad under 50% of the total power produced from the burning of coal, whilst for the rest of the Planet, that number sits at close to half as much again, 72%.

Statistic 2. If the Kyoto Protocol is to be implemented, there needs to be cutbacks in the US coal fired sector of 30%, or 15% of the total US power production, while the vast remainder of the Planet, called ‘Developing Countries’ by that erstwhile body, the UN, are immune from cutting back, just because they are developing Countries.

Statistic 3. 62% of the total US power is used by the Industrial and Commercial sector, the remaining 38% for the residential sector, and I don’t know about you guys there in the US, but if there are ever any problems with electrical supply, could you guess the sector where those brown outs and cutbacks will be felt the most. Ummm!!!!

So, I’ve said often enough that 50 huge baseload coal fired power plants will need to be decommissioned and replaced, so let’s look at that closely now.

This will not be something that one guy can draw up a plan for. Vast teams of engineers will have to work in concert across State borders to plan something like this. Luckily, there will be a time element in all of this. It won’t be that you wake up one morning and just turn off the switch. No, these plants can be decommissioned over time. Due to attrition rates, these plants will be slowly coming to the end of their licensed life span anyway, so these engineers, scientists, and mathematicians, will need to sit down and work out replacements, because this will be something that needs to be planned very, very, carefully, and in intricate detail. They will need to work in concert with town planners, and this is where politicians need to be brought to the table also.

Politicians know one thing. Politics. What you are going to need here are politicians with the actual will to implement what engineers tell them. First thing is that they need to be FORCED to actually understand what is needed, and WHY it is needed. Then they, as politicians, need to actually engage in a personal task of making the people understand why it is needed. This alone will be the hard part. Finding politicians with the actual WILL to do something like this. To make the hard decisions and then to stand by them. Not just give in to the political expedient. For this they will need engineering understanding, and to help with that, the media need to understand what is going on, and also why it is happening. All sides need to engage with each other, and not just reduce it to the lowest common political denominator.
What will also be needed is for people other than rabid environmentalists to take the lead. To come out and make the sorts of stands that those environmentalists do. For too long, these people have waited in the background, because the very second that they do come out and say something, those environmentalists shout them down, because it somehow disagrees with their agenda. These are the people whose message needs to be heard, because this is the way I see it. People are actually hungering for a reason to do the right thing, the good thing. When they see these environmentalists, it actually turns them off.

I have an opinion that if the correct and rational thought process was explained to the public, there would be a turn around in public opinion, because people would see the reasoning behind it, instead of seeing a bunch of noisy radicals pushing their own version of an unattainable utopia.
With a correctly managed campaign, people’s opinions will undoubtedly change.
This is the thing that we need to be doing right now. Starting a flat out media blitz of engineers and scientists telling people what needs to be done, and why we need to do it. Those years and years of environmental bullshit that concentrate on radical extremism have turned the public away from even listening to something like this.
THAT is what needs to be turned around.
We need rational explanation of the ramifications, and solutions, not rampant scaremongering for the purpose of making a small clique very rich, when they rush around like Henny Penny saying that the sky is falling without offering solutions that people can actually identify with.

I’m just one voice swamped by those who will preach doom and gloom.
What is needed is engineers and scientists to band together and make a stand. Tell the people what they just have to hear. They need to get the media on side, not just for a thirty second sound bite, but for half hour slots on every channel in prime time for weeks, something that will just never happen.
If the people can start to see WHY we need to do this, then the politicians will actually come around.

I understand that this sounds like a bit of a rant from the soapbox, but if something isn’t done soon, it just becomes more difficult.
Not the doing part of it all, the telling of the people part of it.