Sunday, March 22, 2009

Reformed environmentalists

I think I had mentioned in my Yucca (RIP) note that even former environmental activists had begun to reassess their opposition to the nuke in the light of the even more calamitous potential consequences of global warming. As if on cue, I came across a quote in New Scientist from Stephen Tindale, former director of Greenpeace UK, saying that he and other environmentalists now backed nuclear power. He is quoted as saying, "It was kind of like a religious conversion."

In the same issue was a rather frightening piece about the possible consequences of the planet rising by 4 degrees Celsius this century - a possibility some say. A map reveals the new deserts and the new fertile areas. Much of the United States and Europe (except Great Britain I was happy to note) would become deserts, not to mention South America and Africa, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and China. Canada and Siberia will become the desirable places to live, though the living conditions may not appeal to those currently enjoying the comfortable suburban lifestyle where 4,800 square feet is just not enough room. The world population could indeed move en masse and occupy Canada with room to spare, provided each individual occupied only 20 square meters - more than double what is accepted under English planning regulations apparently. Of course this would mean transforming the vast emptiness of Canada into a forest of high-rises. One suspects that the Canadian government would take quite a bit of persuading to buy into the idea. It makes the point though that any solution to global warming will naturally be a global one and that national interests and local politics will present the greatest obstacles to legitimate success.


Anonymous said...

As always, the greatest obstacles seem to be intense short-term interest in financial gain (or avoidance of financial penalty) and much less concern for long-term consequences (especially beyond the horizon of politicians' elected terms). The political posturing, especially by the U.S., aimed at leveling the playing field globally has amounted to nothing but foot-dragging, while the rate of climate change seems to be accelerating. Even in the E.U., reducing carbon footprints is not not proceeding at their desired pace. The NIMBY mentality that apparently deep-sixed Yucca Mt. (after all the time and effort spent assessing the site and making plans, the geologic "porosity" of the Mt. just comes to light now?) unfortunately was so predictable. I read the Obamas team is thinking about resurrecting the CO2-sequestration "clean-coal" power-plant project. One can hear those shoes scraping along the pavement now.


Terry said...

Yo Aylwin! Your blog rocks. Terry here. Thanks for the email and your kind words about my online efforts. I was a stone's throw away from Great Miss today -- at Chalfont campus of totally fizzy Bucks New University, externally examining a PhD. Delightful place but apparently they have just flogged it in preparation for a consolidated campus in High Wycombe (horrible thought). Anyway, must catch up on the rest of your online oraculations!

Aylwin Forbes said...

Will Bucks New University fizzle out in High Wycombe? Very squalid town - full of the worst sorts don't you know. Amersham one could understand.

Hope we can keep in touch through the blogosphere...Aren't we so modern.

I hope you charged first class for the travel expenses and that you referred the poor bastard's lame attempt at a thesis.