Just last week I was complaining about some hyprocrisy in the discussion of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). It was an article about how China is doing sooooo much better than the U.S. in adopting alternative energy solutions. The praise was heaped on China even though they are currently and will continue to be for the foreseeable future the world’s biggest polluter. Not only that, they have absolutely rejected any type of climate agreement that will come out of the Copenhagen meetings in December.
The International Energy Association (IEA) confirmed that China will continue to be the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide for the next 20 years in its latest report, claiming that humans will have to build 5 times more power plants to meet energy demands and up to a third of these will be built in China ALONE! Most of these will be coal-fired power plants. My question remains, why does the U.S. get hammered for its perceived lackluster AGW action, while China gets a free pass?
But wait…is the IEA report really predicting “irreparable harm” to the environment? If you read to the end of the article there is a caveat. The writer admits that the IEA worst case scenario will not happen, because people around the world are already taking steps toward a clean energy future. So why use the scary title? Why even detail an apocolyptic scenario that is not going to happen? I see this all the time. AGW headlines are almost always displaying the worst case scenario, not the most likely outcome.
So let me balance this out with a rosy picture of the future. Ray Kurzweil thinks he has identified an exponential growth trend in solar power production. He predicts that if this trend continues we will be able to satisfy all our electricity needs with solar by the year 2029 (and maybe as early as 2016). Whoa! If this is anywhere near accurate, then the AGW (and Peak Oil) Apocalypse is really not much to worry about. Kurzweil has a decent track record in his predictions. Maybe the IEA should talk to him.
On the alternative energy topic, another positive sign is that people are still working on LED lighting technology. It is still too expensive for widespread adoption but at least another big company is getting into the game. TSMC, a big semi-conductor foundry (in Taiwan) is investing in equipment to produce LEDs.
Lastly, I like to share photos, so how about this cool composite image of the heart of the Milky Way. I have a couple viewers photographs as well. One is a of sundog in Wisconsin Rapids and the other is a beautiful reflection in Lake Nokomis. Have a nice Veteran’s Day. Be sure to thank a Veteran. Meteorologist Justin Loew.