Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? Well, not exactly. The same environmental activists who say we only have 10 to 12 years to save the planet from climate change don’t seem to be in desperation mode at all. Examples abound.
The single biggest perennial problem lying between our society and a relatively carbon-free existence has to do with battery technology. These challenges include ample base mineral supplies to make the battery, the ability to invent a battery that holds a significant charge, the time and infrastructure required to recharge the battery, and the ability to safely dispose of the battery once its useful life is over.
Unfortunately, environmentalists want to live in denial of the fact that it is impossible to supply the base material for these batteries apart from mining the rare earth materials. That is, as is typical, they don’t want to support mining operations due to the impact of the same on “sensitive” resources. Meanwhile, they live in denial that children as young as 4 years old are working in mines in Africa in lieu of disturbing our nearby habitat.
Here in California, in the middle of Death Valley, the usual suspects, including the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club, are having a hissy fit about a proposal to search for lithium beneath some salt flats in the desert of death. They would prefer we mine the minerals elsewhere. News flash to these perennial naysayers: You can only mine for minerals where the minerals are actually located.
In similar fashion, the same people who say we are on the verge of an extinction event are not willing to compromise on measures that will buy us significant additional time. This has to do with the use of natural gas as a bridge fuel to the future in lieu of the use of coal as an energy source. A shift to natural gas has already reduced carbon emissions in our country, making the United States the only major industrialized country in the world to actually reduce our carbon footprint. This was only made possible by the same fracking revolution that these activists oppose tooth and nail.
If people truly believed the end was near, they would be living life in a much different manner, including being willing to compromise in practical ways that make sense. Moreover, they would be placing much more emphasis on China, India and Pakistan than they do the United States. These countries, with huge populations and emerging economies, are rapidly gearing up to give their citizens the benefits of modern-day living, including cars, refrigerators and air conditioners, things we take for granted. That is, there is no getting around the fact that quality of life is a function of energy consumption. And, for that, you need energy production.
Finally, what the world needs now, in reality, is nuclear power — the only completely greenhouse gas-free energy source that produces enormous energy supplies with no emissions of any kind. Why won’t the radical activists support this technological miracle? After all, upwards of 80 percent of “spent” fuel is recyclable.