Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Energy Crisis

Energy is not a directly observable entity in Physics. Since energy is a general ability of a system to work upon another system, it's measured by measuring changes like pushes or pulls on other systems. Just a few days ago I read somewhere "Whoever controls energy, controls economy." Or may be it was Prison Break. I don't remember clearly.

Very recently, in a discussion, an interlocutor pointed to a perspicuous but often overlooked relationship between the advancement in technology and untapping of some of the most valuable energy resources in the history of mankind. My learned interlocutor seems to be of opinion that since it was unique twenteith century which caused unearthing of some of the most powerful energy resources, it was also the century which saw some of the most radical transformations in the way we humans live, communicate and think.

I saw a mail from Greenpeace India to sign a petition to urge Microsoft, Amazon and Apple to switch to more efficient ways to run the internet. This mail reads:

Microsoft, Amazon and Apple are dirtying your data. Ask their CEOs to clean-up and quit coal.
Every day, tonnes of asthma-inducing, climate destroying coal pollution is thrown in the air to keep the internet humming. Tech-giants like Microsoft, Amazon and Apple use coal to power the cloud, which stores our data.
Millions of people across the world got Facebook off coal. Now the CEOs of these companies need our help. In the next 48 hours we need to send 100,000 messages to these companies.
You should send a quick note to the CEOs of Microsoft, Amazon and Apple, asking them to quit coal.
Microsoft, Amazon and Apple are the most cutting-edge in the world and they are still using 19th century power sources. They don’t want customers associating their brand with poisoning the air and wrecking the climate.
Technology behind renewable energy sources is available at the scale required. Greenpeace is helping Facebook to make the switch, and we’d be happy to work with Microsoft, Amazon and Apple, too.
These companies need to know their customers are informed, and demand change. Write to the tech giant CEOs and join thousands of Greenpeace supporters around the world, to tell them you want a coal-free cloud.

Situation looks grave from the viewpoint of my aforementioned friend. Many go-green advocates voice and implore in a similar way. I wonder if situation is really so bad. My interlocutor suggested that contrary to what most of the people think about indefinite technological advancement, it's not going to be advancement in this century, but rather a compensation for all the over-expenditure we have done in the past century. I think I am more of an optimist in this regard. I have not given much thought to energy-crisi and I really appreciate my interlocutor and go-green advocates for bringing this into my attention, because in spite of all go-green-save-energy campaigns-missions-movements, I was hitherto given to the belief(perhaps because I am prey to optimism) that energy-crisis is a problem much like any other in the history of mankind and we're going to solve it and it's just a matter of time. I keep on hearing about fusion, solar energy, hydrogen and other stuffs and I wonder if it's not just power elite or Illuminati who are hiding the advancements from masses. But it could make for a good discussion. I really don't feel from within that the twenty first century is going to pose very serious energy problems and humans will not be able to address them. Take for example nuclear energy: Before Einstein's era it was almost impossible to imagine about any such source and now it seems to be part of every Science student's knowledge. What I am trying to say is--to sign-off human problem solving capacity should not be so easy. Why not be optimistic? May be it's just me!  

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