Joy to the World


From the unlinkable SCMP comes this gem on Saturday's letters page:

Joy to the world

It is a rare day when news from the scientific world brings joy to the masses, but Wednesday was one such day. Your story "Deal sealed to build experimental reactor to harness nuclear fusion" (November 22) reported that seven of the world's leading nations plan to invest the equivalent of HK$99 billion to build a reactor which might provide "as much energy from a litre of seawater as from a litre of petrol or a kilo of coal".

Four hundred scientists will kick-start the project and, if successful, "fusion technology will be rolled out across the world".

That really is great news - practical fusion is something we as the human race should have developed back in the 1950's, just after the development of the H-Bomb (which uses much of the same principles).

The words of the old song Happy days are here again; The skies above are clear again shall, thankfully, sound a swansong for all scaremongering, doom-saying, tree-hugging environmentalists. No more shall they command time and space in our newspapers, magazines and cinemas and on our televisions. Their end is nigh.

Science will give us the freedom to enjoy all the fruits of our labours, including free rein to buy gas-guzzling 4x4s without guilt. The greenies can take comfort in cultivating - and selling the produce from - their vegetable patches on Lamma and Lantau (organic, naturally).

So here we have the knee-jerk reaction of the right-winger. Now that there is cheap electricity, apparently we can go on using fossil fuels as though they were infinite. We can ignore the damage to our environment and let Northern Europe have a climate like Siberia. Glaciers as far south as Kansas City? Apparently OK with J. Charleston.

The claims of the green movement that excessive production of greenhouse gasses and over use of fossil fuels are destructive to the planet are not based on some jealousy or luddite tendencies, but on the fact that these activities are destroying our planet. The well funded (by oil companies!) movement to decry these facts is suicidal and will lead to horrendous environmental disasters. The lockstep in which right-wingers march in complete agreement with these corporations is nothing more that the brainless adulation of aspiring fascists. They are as nothing to those whose jackboots they sniff after.

The reality is that Practical Fusion implies cheap electricity which implies a revival of the GM Electric Car (). Rapidly rising Oil costs imply the death of the infernal combustion engine. Rapidly decreasing electricity costs lead to a rise in public transport and electric vehicles. How's about all power for Hong Kong transport comes from a small fusion station on Lamma? All taxis are electric. No more diesel, no more coal based power. Clean skies on days when the wind isn't coming from the north...

Cheap power will allow us to maintain our lifestyles while reducing our output of greenhouse gases and our reliance on fossil fuels. This will mean that the climate of northern Eurpone won't become another Siberia as the Gulf Stream stops, the fish stocks in the world's oceans will halt and eventually reverse their current decline, and places like Australia might be viable to live in for another few years. I, for one, would miss the Great Barrier Reef, the Jungles of Indonesia and the low lying islands of Polynesia, even though I have never been to any of these. I would like to visit them someday, and I would like that my children, and their children, would also have that choice.

It will also allow countries like the US to cease relying on the Middle East for their energy, which will decrease the overall terrorist threat. Indeed, countries which are currently sources of terrorists, like Saudi Arabia — home of Osama Bin Laden and 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists — will be plunged into long needed revolution as the value of their fossil fuel resources diminish. (Always assuming that we can find a way to make cheap plastics, of course.) The oil curse, where nations with oil and few other resources turn into fascist dictatorships in pursuit of the almighty dollar, should be a thing of the past.

The irony is that, for a fraction of the cost of the war in Iraq, the world could have been nearly four years down this road already. If only the President of the USA wasn't completely beholden to oil companies...



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This page contains a single entry by dave published on November 26, 2006 5:18 PM.

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