Monthly Archives: December 2008

Coal – one day there may be no more mountains left to conquer

A problem faces President-elect Obama. He knows he has to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but how does he do it without hurting the economy. This is not a new problem, of course. And the rhetoric from the energy camp is like a broken record:

For the mining companies these are potentially unsettling times – billboards along the highway carry the assertive message, “Yes, Coal”. But in reality they’re quietly confident that the new administration will come to see the essential role of coal.

How silly it is to protect a job as though man is inflexible.

Isn’t it obvious that the solution is to get them to change jobs, to convert their energy production means into those which are clean(er).

And why not just educate the public to use less? Reduce is the simplest of mantras and one that is the most important of the three ‘R’s.

And if they are looking for something that takes away the greenhouse gases efficiently why not stay with the good ol’ tree and rainforest? Best technology around, they say.

OK. So I am overstating the solution. There is the size of the population to think about. But there are plenty of countries out there with sizeable populations who live within their means. It is possible to live relatively comfortably and still be under the ecological footprint. Isn’t it about how you define quality of life, or wealth?

The choice to give up should be easy. But to those who are spoilt this may be difficult. Americans may have taken steps to change but how willing will they be. The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one generation or even in one lifetime. But I am hopeful that we will get there someday. For, as a long-term optimist, that is the all I can hope for – that the this animal (for that is what we are) will learn and change to become more benevolent.