Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Lesson from Sendai: Cutting Demand Is the Only Real Way to Cut Energy Disasters

The news gets worse and worse about the problems with nuclear reactors damaged in last Friday's earthquake in Japan. There has been much talk about whether the reactor design was a good one, as well as considerable questioning about whether the move to nuclear energy should continue in other countries.

But nowhere so far that I've seen have commentators given much thought to the reasons why countries have turned to nuclear power. That is: because the way live requires a great deal of energy.

The last year has seen one disaster after another linked to our seemingly insatiable demand for energy. Others include the drilling platform leak in the Gulf of Mexico,and the unrest around the Mediterranean where developed countries keen on keeping their oil supply lines "secure" have supported dictatorships for decades. In Quebec both wind power and shale gas projects have come under attack recently for environmental reasons too.

The only way out of this dilemma is to figure out a way to cut back our energy demands. It's about time that the focus was shifted to the reasons for nuclear reactors and deep sea drilling. Otherwise, all we will do is spend our time putting out fires--including those in nuclear reactors.

1 comment:

doconnor said...

I'm not sure it will be practical to cut overall energy use. Many ideas to reduce burning fossil fuels involve switching them to electricity, like electric cars, electric trains and geothermal heating/cooling. On top of that is all the people in developing countries who are heading towards a Western lifestyle.

You have to keep in perspective that the damage from nuclear power plans has been tiny compared to fossil fuels and we should prioritizes.