Wednesday, 3 September 2008

A Political Project

A Political Project

1. There is an urgent need for world wide action to prepare the world for the energy shock that is well under way according to many experts.

2. Peak Oil is probably with us already or is about to be within a few years. Predictions are that oil may be $ 3/350 a barrel within a few short years.

3. There seems to be agreement that there is an urgent need to quickly develop alternate energy sources to replace fossil fuels, including coal. There seems no sight of commercial 'clean coal' technology. China is building coal power stations at an alarming rate, all with unacceptable discharges.

4. Although the building of non-fossil fueled power generation is progressing apace, it is still a very small percentage of the overall generation and growing far too slowly.

5. There is no other show in town but the Kyoto Protocol, which has been somewhat crippled by the US being strongly in dis-agreement with it. It is a slow drawn out process with several 'spoilers' such as the US, Canada, perhaps Japan, plus a few other hangers on. The Position of China and India is not conducive to Kyoto being a good candidate for swift progress, which is urgently required.

6. Another channel is required to enable swift and effective action by Governments worldwide. The UN suffers from probably a worse reputation than Kyoto and is unlikely to be an effective forum for fast concerted action. Any proposal could be drawn out for months or years and may then fail because of Veto by either Russia, China, or the US. The IPCC is a UN organ and as such would not be able to gather the concensus required and also suffers from being suspected by the Climate Sceptics and non-believers in Peak Oil to be a purely political set-up.

7. The WTO may be a candidate for action on the energy crisis. It may need another focus after the failure of the Doha Round. As it is more or less contolled by the US it is unlikely to be an effective forum, or be likely to achieve urgent action as is undoubtedly required. Negotiations for the Doha Round went on for many years and then failed.

8. It seems therefore that a completely new set up will be required. How could it be formulated ? Perhaps Obama, if he wins will take it on and get the required support from the UK, China and India & perhaps Russia.

9. What I believe is required is a world wide agreement to tackle the energy crisis headon, and at the same time GHG emissions, and hence Climate Change, will be positively effected.

10. To achieve this I suggest that all Governments agree to hold Referenda within a short time frame, perhaps 18 months, with the aim of getting approval from their populations to enshrine in their national law or constitution the requirement of all Governments from then on to take all necessary action to develop alternate energy sources to replace Fossil Fuels completely within 15 years. Survey after survey shows world wide that populations are in favour of action of this kind and after an open and informed debate in each nation, surely many nations would pass such laws.


It does not matter if only a majority do so because all that is required is action by some major nations, and all will follow or be overtaken in the technology race that would ensue.

11. Once that becomes a national objective of several major nations, the market will respond strongly and heavy investment will take place in many forms of alternative energy schemes. A major shift is required to make a difference, equal or larger than the effort by the US to reach the moon first. In fact it seems that that effort will pale into insignificance beside the effort that will be rquired to achieve a positive result in this 'energy race'.

12. As it is obvious that no single solution will be a 'magic bullet', many different approaches will be needed, and the market is best equiped to do this. There are many possible technologies out there and each must make it on economic and efficiency grounds. Part of the original treaty agreement must be that all technologies used in new power generation must be either carbon neutral or negative, and efficienct savings must take a major part of savings in energy usage.

13. The economic opportunities that will become available will surely spur fast development of new approaches and application of current technologies on a large scale, replacing all fossil fueled power generation within 15 years. The time frame would probably eliminate the possibility of Nuclear being a part of the solution.

Geoff Cox

21st Aug 2008.

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