Wednesday, May 16, 2012
As societies turn away from fossil fuels towards renewables will the dark carbon gods of coal and oil give way to mankind's original gods of sun, wind and water? Will we see a shift in cultural practice?
Already, we see beauty in solar installations like Gemasolar, near Seville in Spain, where the layout of the mirror array is guided by the patterns of seeds in sunflower heads.
And wind generators are entering beauty contests.
New technology can be very techie, but as I have discussed, renewables are very lovable.
What's not to love in this new farming system that uses solar power to desalinate water and produce greenhouse crops in the desert. Sundrop Farms have developed the technology that uses trough mirrors to heat oil that boils sea water to run turbines to generate electricity. It also desalinates the water. The electricity, heat and water are used in greenhouses to grow vegetables. In 2010-2011 Sundrop trialed the high-tech system in the desert near Port Augusta. The trials went very well and in 2012 they will expand to have 8 hectares under greenhouses.
You can take a site visit –
The cool language of technology needs to meet the life-affirming language of love. Surely the capacity to grow nourishing food in the desert is nothing short of miraculous?
Where is our sense of wonder? Apollo and Neptune have joined forces to grow tomatoes in the desert of South Australia.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Right now, nations are racing towards the new low-carbon future.
Fossil fuels can only get more expensive because the cheapest reserves have already been tapped and new reserves are more expensive. When industrialised economies were developing, oil was the equivalent of $13 a barrel, but now countries must pay $120 to $130, according to Fatih Birol of the International Energy Agency.
Another factor making fossil fuels more expensive is the increasing recognition of the damage caused by greenhouse gases and the impact of global warming. More countries are imposing carbon taxes/prices which will add to the cost of fossil fuels.
The race is on – 2011 was the first year that global investments in renewable energy surpassed investments in fossil fuels.
European countries are ahead in the race because they started running years ago, while others watched from the sidelines. Now more countries are also running hard.
Some runners have been slowed down by fossil fuel interests that have undermined public confidence in the science behind climate change. These countries are hobbled by their misinformed electorates.
Who are the winners? Anyone who is ahead of the pack will be a winner because they will avoid the worst impact of rising fossil fuel costs. Eventually, everyone will get there, but the laggards will pay a high price. Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, says that for every $1 that countries do not spend on cleaner fuel, they will have to spend $4.3 within the next two decades to make up for their reliance on fossil fuels.
Rich countries have a moral obligation to help poor countries keep up with the main pack.
Scott Mandia, a professor of meteorology at Suffolk County Community College in New York uses this analogy. He is the founder of The Climate Science Rapid Response Team and The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund. He is a leading US voice in engaging the public, media and his students about the serious threat of climate change.
Source: Be Green
Bloomberg New Energy Finance produces a ranking of the Top 20 Green Banks which it bills as The Race for Clean Energy.