QUOTE (Patient #212 @ May 8 2004, 08:06 PM)
I had no idea about this vast conspiracy, Polocrunch. I am further educated on the nature of our "friend" CommieBastard.
Although, I find it interesting that you yourself have, at one point or another, been "seduced" by his intellect. May I respectfully and oh so humbly quote you? "[Sean] oozes wit and intelligence. He ought to be sipping brandy in the drawing room of a country estate right now, not sitting typing in a three-bed terraced in Leytonstone." Thank you.
[/oh the SPAM]
Yes! His is an alluring and enticing charm. I myself have indeed fallen under his enchanting spells at times. However, we must battle on in the name of all that is good. To victory! and the defeat of all evil!
[/is it me, or is it getting spammy in here?]
But in relation to this Issue:
We desperately need to find alternative, workable sources of energy - fast. Within fifty years, judging by current trends in economic growth, we'll have exhausted most of our oil, coal and gas reserves.
Wind power is not a very efficient technology, and can prove contentious in countries with a lack of space. The UK is experiencing a backlash towards wind farms because apparently they ugly the countryside up. I personally disagree, but it demonstrates the problems that can be caused by renewable energy sources.
Hydroelectricity is, as we know from lots of experience, very contentious. Damming rivers causes enormous damage to the environment - upstream and downstream. River flows are reduced downstream, and large areas are flooded upstream. The Chinese damming of the Mekong River has caused low water levels in Indochina, causing failed harvests, to cite one example.
Tidal/wave power is still a pretty dodgy technology, and could upset shipping routes. Don't know how viable it really is for generating large quantities of energy.
Solar power is probably our best hope. It's still extremely expensive, but eventually with all of the shortages in other fuel sources it will become economic. It's also becoming much more efficient. At the moment in the UK you can fit your roof with solar panels that look like normal tiles. The government will make up half of the cost (about £10,000), and you make enough energy to be able to sell some back to the National Grid. If I were rich enough, I'd go for it immediately, though mainly because I would no longer need to worry about power cuts.
Other technologies are coming through at the moment too - most notably hydrogen power. Not quite sure how it works, but it looks fairly promising. It'll probably take some decades to refine and cheapen. Nuclear power, the power source we love to hate, is also still viable. It's dirty, it's expensive and it's unsafe (though governments of the Fifties loved to tell us otherwise), but it's pretty efficient. I'm not certain what's going on with geothermal power - presumably it's too unreliable or expensive or just impractical to use.
We don't have to worry too much about power supplies, what with all these improving technologies, but we should think twice about going to war for energy resources like oil. We need to wean our economies off of oil as soon as possible, so that when it does eventually run out we won't be caught with our knickers down.