“Giving society cheap, abundant energy . . . would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.” —Paul Ehrlich An Ecologist’s Perspective on Nuclear Power May/June 1978 issue of Federation of American Scientists Public Issue Report
That is exactly what we have now, after a century of gluttonous feeding on an abundant supply of subsidized fossil fuels.
So what if there was a solution?
What if we had an opportunity for a ‘new arrangement for living’, one that could keep a whole biosphere from extinction at human hands and provide an ultra-clean, dense, off-grid power for a green technological future?
To abandon this possible energy solution is to abandon a world of species who share this planet, including our own.
Yet ecologists like Paul Ehrlich said no to fusion-sized energy, and the argument goes like this:
–Throughout history, the more energy utilized by humans, the more they have destroyed their own habitat with reckless imbalance.
–We are today recklessly destroying our own habitat.
–Therefore, we will always destroy our own habitat.
Then consider the (lengthy) paragraph below from The Arrogance of Humanism by David Ehrenfeld, as copied from the Energy Resources Yahoo group, where Ehrenfeld predicts the consequences of hot fusion power.
Hot fusion utilizes high-temperature plasmas as a centralized power source and requires a transmission grid, which cold fusion will not require. But both types of fusion produce millions of times more power than chemical reactions, such as burning hydro-carbons.
Ehrenfeld’s thesis states the more energy we have available, the more destructive we will be. The assumption is that we will do then as we do now, but with greater magnitude, until collapse.
“The popular idea of “clean fusion power” is a myth that encompasses every environmental delusion and folly of which the humanistic attitude is capable and ignores many of the principles described in the preceding section. Foremost is the context problem, around which all the others can be organized. For even if we accept the dubious and unprovable assumption that fusion reactors will pose no radioactive, explosive, or thermal threat to people and environments, what will happen to this unlimited, cheap power after it leaves the transmission lines? If a source of power is to be judged “clean,” that judgment can only be made if all the consequences and effects of the power have been traced – from the time of its generation to the time that the last kilowatt has been dissipated as irrecoverable heat. “Impossible to trace,” mutters the physicist or engineer. But not really – we already know what will happen to that power. It will be used to manufacture more snowmobiles, which will destroy more of the winter vegetation of the north, and diminish the dwindling privacy and quiet that northern dwellers once enjoyed during the months of snow. Granted, snowmobiles will save some lives; but even this is a mixed blessing because snowmobile accidents will take more lives than are saved. It will be used to make more laser bombs and surface-to-surface missiles and Rome plows and anti-crop defoliants. It will be used to provide more electric outdoor billboards, which will help accelerate the destruction of the meaning of language. It will power the pumps of tube wells in the world’s dry grasslands, thus permitting more cattle to be grazed, and more deserts to be formed….It will be used to produce more synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, which will be used to fertilize the “miracle crops” developed for “Green Revolution” agriculture. This, in turn, will mean that massive irrigation will be necessary for proper growth, which in dry areas will lead to the buildup of toxic salts in the soil – one of the roads to desert formation. It will mean that agriculture will continue to be a capital-intensive enterprise, because Green Revolution can only give heavy yields with the aid of expensive (and destructive) pesticides, herbicides, harvesting and cultivating machinery, drying ovens, etc.. and this further means that the twin processes of concentrating land holdings in the hands of the few who control the money supply and creating a landless peasantry will continue. It means that the soil, most valuable of all resources, will still be mined, in effect, rather than nurtured and preserved. It means that the allure of the fertilized, high-yielding “miracle crops” will still cause traditional farmers to abandon their precious local varieties of grains, vegetables, and fruits, some of them thousands of years old and perfectly adapted to the climate, pests, and diseases of the regional environment – and it is these local varieties, tens of thousands of them, that constitute the entire genetic heritage of agriculture, the hope of the future. It means that crops will still have to be grown in massive, “efficient” monocultures in order to turn a profit in the face of the heavy capital investment, and this means that they will continue to be exceptionally vulnerable to insect pests and diseases. It will be used for the construction of more levees, diversion canals, flood walls and the like, thus reducing the incidence of minor flooding, but further encouraging the human settlement of flood plains and increasing both the likelihood and destructiveness of major floods, as happened along the Mississippi River in 1973. All of this and much more will be the fate of fusion power after it leaves the transmission lines. The adjective “clean” cannot be applied to such a train of consequences, and reserving it solely for the power plant portion of the system is a bit like certifying the water of a sewage and chemical polluted river as fit for drinking because the rain that falls upon its watershed is sweet and pure. —David Ehrenfeld The Arrogance of Humanism pp. 116-118 http://tinyurl.com/cqpe3c7
Capital-intensive farming? Pesticides and herbicides? That’s today’s agri-chemical-business, where toxins manufactured from hydro-carbons are ladled onto spongy depleted dirt from which a nutritionally-withering crop is forced.
Snowmobiles? Cheap gasoline and advertising did that.
Dwindling privacy? Digital technology is the culprit in a surveillance society.
Missiles and drones are increasingly “protecting” the fossil fuel lanes.
Ehrenfeld describes the current gloom well. But is his assertion that an upgrade in energy would lead to “burning” through our inheritance further?
Cold fusion will not promote a ceaseless continuation of what exists already; it will eliminate it.
The failure is neglecting to consider the revolutionary quality of new energy.
“Concentrating power in the hands of a few” describes the current fossil fuel energy infrastructure, developed by corporations and a centralized authority especially for a centralized monopoly of energy production and metered distribution.
But when the fuel is hydrogen from water, the geo-politics of the world change fast.
With scalable, portable, power generated in situ, without the need for a transmission grid, local communities and individuals will exercise greater control and autonomy of their energy resources.
Mountain-top removal in West Virginia, US extracts coal, leaving dead dirt. [/caption]According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2011, 42% of the country’s nearly 4 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity used coal as its source of energy, and a good 70% of all coal mining in the US is strip mining, mirroring worldwide statistics.
Also called surface mining, the method is destructive to the extreme taking “topsoil, rocks, small trees, plants, and wild animals and their nesting places without discrimination.”
Cold fusion would end this.
There is enough hydrogen in the top few centimeters of ocean to power the entire planet for millions of years, with no harm to the marine ecosystem.
We can eliminate fracking, and cross tar sands off the list. We can remove hydro-electric dams, creating instant habitat for fish and wildlife. It becomes economically viable to recycle all waste.
Cold fusion technology offers a very different world than the one now, one that offers opportunity, but no guarantees.
Another kind of (media) ecologyAt the turn of the twentieth century, warnings arose that piles of horse manure would line city streets as the future population increased.
I once saw an algebra book problem predicting the number of cassette tapes to be sold in the year 2000 would explode, based on a positive slope of accelerating sales in the early 80s.
Clearly, these events did not happen.
The incremental developments that replaced horse-and-buggy and cassette tapes were no paradigm-shifting wares, merely a speed-up of what was.
Still, each successive generation of device all but eradicated the service environments of the previous technology.
Marshall McLuhan modeled technology as a figure in a ground consisting of services and disservices. While not mutually exclusive (the content of any new technology is the old technology), each successive environment represents a swing in a new direction, with a new set of services and disservices.
The digital world is different from the previous analog world, and as fossil fuels disappear, the structure it supports will continue to fall away, while a new and different one begins to emerge.
In early civilizations, it was feasible to utilize energy inefficiently. We had only to expand outwards to replace it. The global population was low, empires took what they could loot, and communication of the effects of human actions was slow and limited in scope.
Fossil fuels allowed exponential population growth, and over-harvesting of dwindling planetary resources. Digital communications connects increasing masses to learn the effects of these actions instantly.
The current environment represents a break-boundary off the Euclidean escalator to infinite economic growth with immunity from the consequences.“Macroscopic gesticulation” expresses the un-utterable and un-articulated experience of our un-sustainable lifestyle that un-derlies the current of anxiety blanketing world consciousness at this un-certain moment.
We know cold fusion will host a vastly different environment from fossil fuels, with many benefits. But there will be disservices too, and the transition won’t be easy.
But what is the alternative?
To die-off, or not to die-off, that is the question
Twenty-four years ago on March 23, 1989, cold fusion was announced. A fundamental force of nature revealed by two scientists to be a gift to humanity was subsequently banished from mainstream science.
Environmentalists today still don’t recognize the solution it represents.
We have only to turn away from die-off, and choose conscious deliberation towards programming our environment to benefit life and peace. We can choose “poise at the eye of the whirlpool.”
Tomorrowland is not some external place or time beyond our current locale, filled with doom or glory.
Tomorrowland resides within every one of us, realized by the choices we make each and every moment.
Cold Fusion Now!