I have been in a very interesting course about energy at UIMP summer school in Santander. "Ecuación para una energía segura y sostenible" (Equation for a safe and sustainable energy) sponsored by Viesgo.
One of the subjects of the conference was the "Paris Climate Conference in December 2015" which objective is to achieve a universal agreement on climate. What a difficult task! After the 1997 "Kyoto Protocol" experience, ending in fiasco, the United Nations are less naïve and more aware that to reach an agreement is very difficult and strongly dependent on world political changes.
I would like to share at this post some of my notes which some sentences for thought.
1.- “The Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of stones”. The energy system, as we know today, is never going to finish because we are not going to run out of petrol nor coal soon. It is more a conceptual change, the oil will be history once we find new sources of energy more economical and with less polluting emissions. The sentence reminds me when I started my Ph.D. to do research with Tokamaks and plasma fusion. We were in a hurry to improve the energy fusion source because coal and petrol were going to be exhausted by 2015 fortunately this apocalyptic future has not arrived, we have found more oil and coal reserves and other energy sources like gas, sun, wind...
2.- “Humans increase in higher rates than energy consumption”. Numbers shows this fact. The world popultation has increased a 3% nevertheless the energy consumption only 1%. Amazing! The explanation is that the use of energy has been done in a more wise way. Not just because citizens have been forced to reduce consumption of home electricity under this long recession, but also to administration which has created regulations that rewards to businesses with smart energy consumption, distributions or generation.
3.- “Innovation on energy storage”. Since the industrial revolution in 1760, we do not know how to store a big quantity of energy. The old concept of storage is petrol, coal and water but, up to now, the energy overproduced is lost. Until a miraculous battery is created, one solution is to improve the infrastructures of the “Interconnection Grid”, at least in Europe. Unfortunately Portugal and Spain are like an "energetic island" and a lot of engineering works are required to overcome this condition. Some of these works have already started.
4.- "Who has to pay for the present and future pollution?" This is one of the strongest issues at Paris Conference: how the pollution fees will be distributed. Why a country who has started to emit pollution now has to pay the same as those who have been emitting for so long time? The First World is responsible for most of the existing pollution but the Second World emits more at the present. Difficult equation to be resolved avoiding to stop the development of Second and Third world.
Even President Obama is deeply concerned about the climate change as it was transmitted on TV and in USA government web page and we can watch at the following video.
Conclusion: I am waiting with hope for the "Paris Climate Conference 2015" and to see how the United Nations arrive to a wise agreement to avoid more polluting emissions for the sake of our children.