Date:7 January 2015
In a bid to help the world rid itself of dependence on polluting fossil fuels for our electricity, proponents of green energy tout the numerous benefits of alternative methods such as wind power and solar with uncompromising certainty of their apparent superiority.
But in what way are these technologies superior? Not in actual electricity production per dollar spent in total – otherwise it wouldn’t take so much to convince the industrialists after all.
But almost everyone knows that. What people don’t generally know, or acknowledge, is that there is no such thing as a ubiquitously green technology. The old example you might recall is of the Prius – a fraction of the CO2 emissions, but the manufacturing of its batteries to get it to lower the CO2 emission rate, needs large polluting mines to obtain the rare materials that make up the batteries necessary to cut down on air pollution.
Sometimes its easy to live in ignorance, and only look at the cases where the costs are so easily compared to the benefit to, ultimately, condone a particular technology.
But what happens when the environmental costs can’t be objectively compared to the environmental benefit in another area? How many birds are equal to a ton of CO2? How many landfills are equal to pervasive water table pollution?
The point is, most often we’ll have to choose, but right now few realise it.