Archive for April, 2012

Recently I ran across an article in North American Clean Energy where an economist was saying that grid parity is the only reason why the use of photovoltaic solar energy will become widespread.  Personally, I believe that this is largely true in the U.S.  In this country, it is usually all about money, and it is also all about short-sighted thinking.  Florida and the other 49 states largely live in denial of the real reason to adopt renewable energy sooner rather than later.  The real reason is the risk of consequences of human-caused climate change.

On NPR on 4-5-12, they did a segment on an article in Nature about a possible mechanism for the global warming that led to the end of the last ice age, where glaciers melted and the sea level rose.  Whatever started the process led to a release of Earth’s sequestered carbon dioxide and magnified the greenhouse effect.  Quoting the news story which describes the carbon dioxide release:  “…that’s a process that has taken about 8,000 years. And…research found that the amount of CO2 it took to end the ice age is about the same amount as humans have added to the atmosphere in the past century.”

Once again, human alteration of the air has been reported in the mainstream news media.  I estimate that at least about half of the people in this nation live in denial of the fact that humans are so numerous and so invasive that now we are having a profound effect on our atmosphere.  This effect is a fact, because you can look up the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and compare it to the amount of extra carbon dioxide that we are adding to it each year.  Simple arithmetic will show you that we are causing the entire measured yearly rise in the atmospheric CO2 level.  The deniers apparently have not done the arithmetic to see for themselves.  Personally, I think this is tragic.

What is it going to take before Americans get serious and stop pouring megatons of CO2 in the air from burning fossil fuel?  Since Americans live by crisis, my guess is that if a large chunk of Western Antarctica suddenly breaks off, falls into the ocean, and raises the average sea level about two feet, this might be enough to cause a critical mass of Americans to stop using fossil fuel.  That’s because many municipalities such as Miami would quickly be gravely injured.

If we were wise, before such a disaster occurred we would all quickly change over to using renewable energy exclusively.  Renewable energy is the only source of power that does not increase net CO2 in the air and  does not cause a net thermal gain in the environment.  Again, greenhouse gases and net thermal gain from our fuel sources are huge problems lately, and renewable energy saves us from generating both.  And this is not the only reason for switching to renewable energy.  Both fossil and nuclear energy sources are fraught with so many other types of ongoing pollution including the danger of catastrophic pollution that it is compelling to phase them out as soon as possible.

The Florida Renewable Energy Association believes that we can make the switch to using renewable energy completely over a relatively short period, and we will be elaborating on this in the near future.  So stay tuned, and keep planning for your own personal renewable future.

Robert Stonerock, Jr., M.D.

President of FREA

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