While I’ve discussed this before the topic popped up recently while I was surfing through Amazon. Essentially it broke down to two groups of people, people who are fanatically against anything wasteful and those fanatically against anything changing at all. Either group has their problems as is true with any dichotomy of extremes. However in the discussion there was something that I found odd.
While I agree that it has been proven we can do just about anything in a decade or less if we actually want to (see: Obliterate an Entire City or Landing on the Moon) it doesn’t seem like a reasonable expectation for just about anything that we cannot brag about or threaten other countries with. It’s the unfortunate reality of a nation that spends more than half its budget on weaponry.
That aside I’m hard pressed to see the negative aspects of actually switching over to renewable energies. Even if we are to accept that humanity has no effect on the worlds climate, which seems a bit naive but even given this possibility, what do we have to gain from using resources that are limited.
Unlike Oil, Gas, and Coal sources like wind and solar should be around for as long as we are alive. If either ceases to be we can be sure that power will be the last of our worries. There is however a very unfortunate trait that humans (almost regardless of global region) express and that is the general desire to wait until critical mass before attempting to fix a situation. We kept building bigger bombs until suddenly we had the ability to end most (if not all) life on Earth, the US waited far too long to address the issue of AIDS which may have greatly lessened its impact, many ecological disasters were ignored until the regions became useless. Indeed the Dust Bowl was hardly an event that happened overnight, nor are the rather consistent economic crashes in the US and abroad.
The (somewhat morbid) humor in it all is that overall there would be far more financial gain overall to not wait till the last minute. Each time it only provides the illusion of overall gain with the actuality being that an extreme minority come out well with the vast majority being decimated either fiscally or literally.
The idea of infinitely harvestable energy is so exciting that I’m surprised people aren’t all over it. Imagine a society that has no limitation on the power it generates. Anytime new projects arise the nation could place more solar paneling down. Likewise with every new innovation in these energy sources we could improve our output. This would free up massive amounts of money to be put towards other important avenues.
But perhaps I’m just being too idealistic. However I can think of no case in the universe where something, living or not, can continually intake without an equal or higher outtake and not cease to function. All organisms die if they take in absolutely anything faster than they can use or expel it and all matter will eventually collapse upon itself if more matter is put on than can be expelled. The Earth is no different and it bothers me that people think it is special.