The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 or CMP 21 was held in Paris, from November 30 to December 11. The goal of each nation was to present a strategy to limit world wide temperature increase to 2C (3.7F) over the pre-industrial period. Each nation will probably come up with different achievable pledges, but I think it is unrealistic for those who want a total ban on coal, oil and gas, also referred to as ‘Deep Carbonization’. Remember that term because it is a new climate change icon. The only thing worst then a ban would be a carbon tax.
If the COP 21 world leaders are serious about addressing climate change with a practical solution then the single most important action we can take is thawing a nuclear energy policy that keeps the technology frozen in time. If we are serious about replacing fossil fuels, we are going to need next generation nuclear power, so the choice is stark: We can keep on merely talking/pledging about a carbon-free world, while carbon is 80% of the world’s energy use today, or we can go ahead and create a new clean energy world.
Unfortunately, the Whitehouse (.gov) has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025 which is only 10 years from now. That, my friends, is a total cop-out. It isn’t going to happen in 10 years or 20 years. Over the last 40 years, the US has only built 4 nuclear power plants AND built renewable farms (wind and solar) for only 20% of our electricity requirements. Give me a break! What is going to change that ‘slow’ development?
What’s especially ironic about the failed push for renewable (provides less than 2 percent of the world’s energy) is that the US already had a practical plan back in the 1960s to become fully carbon-free without any need of wind or solar. After Three Mile Island and the 1979 release of the Hollywood horror movie “The China Syndrome,” about a hundred proposed reactors were canceled. If we had kept building them, our power grid could have been carbon-free years ago. Now China is building those hundred nuclear power plants.
In addition to the next generation of nuclear energy technology, the next generation of solar technology will also be worthy of consideration to address the carbon free goals of the COP 21 summit. Nano-technology will be the key to overcoming the biosphere’s environmental problems by addressing the issue at the nano-scale with nano particles. Remember, the smaller the particle that greater the potential. Nuclear energy is all about the control of splitting the atom without carbon and nanotechnology is all about the manipulation of the atom, such as carbon transformation into graphene as a valuable building material.
For nano-solar energy, we can apply nano-particles to solar cells and make them so flexible; they could actually be part of our clothing and continuously charge our cell phones and iPads. These flexible solar cells will create limitless possibilities of energy uses and replace everything we are using to capture solar energy today in fixed locations and fixed time frames. The sun produces a years worth of energy for the entire world population in just one day. The energy is there everyday and that energy can be captured efficiently from the sun’s entire light spectrum, both visible light and UV, through nano-particles.
While COP 21 is trying to be socially responsible, they are missing the truly revolutionary scientific solutions to their real carbon-free climate change agenda without significant nuclear energy.