Saturday, November 7, 2009

Who Will Win in Copenhagen?

By Klaus H Hemsath

Recently, large U.S. corporations have voiced their displeasure with the declared position of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the controversial subject of Climate Change. Several large and well respected companies and their representatives as well as the U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dr. Chu, have questioned the position of the Chamber. Their opinions have found extensive media coverage. What are these issues about?

Continuing burning of fossil fuels increases the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and changes irreversibly the energy flows from Sun to Earth and from Earth to Outer Space. Planet Earth is warming, ice on mountains and in Polar Regions is melting, and coastal areas across the world are slowly but indefensibly submersed by rising sea waters.

Countermeasures like the Kyoto agreement, cap and trade, carbon taxes, hydrogen economy, and electric cars are fool's gold. Instead world economies must stop all fossil fuel burning and must produce electric power by converting inexhaustible solar energy and nuclear heat. Scientists must imitate nature and must produce petroleum substitutes from biomass. Only natural photosynthesis processes can recycle carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by utilizing solar energy and by recycling carbon dioxide while not increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas accumulation.

World governments have only one single option for defending Earth against overheating. Simultaneously, they must assure that world economies continue their growth and prevent politically risky recessions and depressions.

World economies cannot continue with past practices of using fossil fuels for generating electricity and burning petroleum for powering their huge transportation fleets of automobiles, trucks, trains, ships, and airplanes. Accelerating the discharge of greenhouse gases into the Earth's atmosphere will irreversibly result in continually rising global temperatures.

Cap and trade measures, carbon taxes, electric cars, and energy conservation efforts will unavoidably lead to more expensive energy supplies. Energy supplies will become more and more unaffordable. Costs of doing business will skyrocket.

In addition, living conditions will become less bearable due to ever increasing temperatures and more violent windstorms, more severe and frequent droughts, and more powerful and destructive floods.

The only acceptable and long-term viable option is the exclusive use of solar energy and of nuclear heat for electric power generation and the conversion of naturally grown biomass into petroleum substitutes by imitating natural conversion processes.

Our Earth receives from the Sun an inexhaustible amount of energy, which can be converted into unlimited amounts of electricity. The world also has plenty of arid, barren, or fallow lands for growing virtually inexhaustible and infinitely sustainable amounts of biomass. Nature has proven that biomass can be converted into petroleum.

Now comes the time when world governments must choose between these two, very well defined options.

Continuing with century old practices of burning ever increasing amounts of fossil fuels will sentence world communities and economies to a slow but certain death by global overheating in the near future. This solution is fiercely supported by the folks that brought us the last financial crisis and that want to continue with their obscene exploitation of the politically less powerful citizens of the world.

The more benign, more promising, and permanently viable option is the complete changeover of fossil fuel based energy sources to the exclusive utilization of renewable energies from the Sun.

Replacing fossil fuel based energy supplies completely with solar energy is becoming technically possible. Sun energy is inexhaustible and will last forever. Best of all, solar energy based energy conversion processes do not result in global warming and will not harm the environment. Better yet, it is conceptually possible to restore the lower carbon dioxide levels, which were prevalent during the last, the twentieth century, and to reduce contemporary global temperatures. This cleanup process is, however, dependent on the availability of inexpensive and abundant, clean energy supplies. It can be applied only after the changeover from fossil fuels to solar energy is complete and after world economies are growing strongly and are prospering predictably again.

A total conversion from fossil energy supplies to solar energy will have huge benefits for world economies. The fear of overheating will be banned, energy costs will remain affordable even for less wealthy countries, and world economies can be sustainably provisioned with renewable and affordable clean energy for centuries.

Steady economic growth can be maintained, a huge number of new jobs can be created, and the threat of skyrocketing petroleum prices can be eliminated effectively.

Most of the required energy conversion technologies are already available. However, not all are economically viable, yet. The outlook for solar power and wind power to become cost competitive is excellent. There is one caveat. A few auxiliary, more advanced energy storage technologies still await development. The world will become independent of fossil fuels as soon as these new technologies will be available.

Hydrogen conversion and storage, which at one time was promoted as a new energy supply option, can become such an urgently needed, intermittent energy carrier and storage option. Other storage technologies for the temporary sequestering of mechanical energy and heat energy are conceivable and must find application.

Copenhagen is the next meeting place where world governments and citizens must make a choice between two very different energy supply options.

Do they want to choose a world of haves and have-nots? A world, where the haves collect billions of dollars for gambling, get paid by governments when they lose, and then buy themselves palatial retreats in Wyoming or the Alps, where they can endure the effects of global warming joyfully?

Or are world citizens more concerned about the generations that are following us, believe "that all Men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights", and are willing to fight for the rights of their offspring?

Science and technology have given us centuries of global industrialization and unimaginable economic growth derived from fossil fuels. But growth was tied to a Faustian provision; the threat of Global Overheating.

Science and technology are now offering again a better future for mankind based on inexhaustible solar energy. Unfortunately, there is again a Faustian provision; the world must manage nuclear proliferation during an interim period when electricity generation must be powered by nuclear energy instead of energy from fossil fuels.

Dr. Hemsath's books, Climate Change - Gold Rush or Disaster? and Clean Energy For Centuries, offer a comprehensive plan for saving Earth from overheating. He is now writing a follow-on book, Petroleum Substitutes From Biomass. For fifty years he has worked on advanced energy technologies as scientist, engineer, inventor, Corporate R&D Executive, CEO, entrepreneur, and author. He holds more than 60 US Patents. Go to

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