Moving towards a zero-carbon energy economy

In the run-up to Cop-Out (I’m sorry, I mean of course ‘COP15‘) at Copenhagen, I wrote to my elected representatives (by way of insisting that they do everything possible to ensure a good outcome for the Copenhagen talks.
Of the replies I received, most were encouraging (although we now know in retrospect how much good Cop-Out actually did: zero).
In response to my plea that action be taken now to begin the move to a ‘carbon-free’ economy, Stuart Gulleford, Political Advisor of the UK Independence Party, purportedly writing on behalf of David Campbell Bannerman MEP and Stuart Agnew MEP, said (my emphasis):
"I would point out that not even the most fervent proponent of manmade climate change is calling for a ‘carbon-free’ economy."
Hmm… so much for Mr Gulleford’s view of my own opinion.
Now, Bill Gates isn’t exactly my hero.
In the past Bill has shown that his vision is flawed – for instance, in his book The Road Ahead he dissed the competition to his computer operating system on the grounds that it took five minutes to boot up. Here we are fifteen years after the publication of that book — and my computer, running the de-facto computer operating system standard (Windows), takes about five minutes* to boot. My mum’s takes even longer. Go figure.
I’ve just watched a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talk by Bill Gates that he gave in February 2010. In this talk, he argues that we need to think in terms of not just working towards a low-carbon energy economy, but a zero-carbon one.
Even though by the end of Bill’s talk it becomes clear that he’s hawking a nuclear power option he calls ‘Terrapower,’ I have to agree with his primary sentiment. Given that the pollution we’ve already pumped into our fishpond is probably already enough to do serious damage to the filters, a ‘low carbon’ target is simply not enough: the target needs to be zero. Even if we don’t achieve that target, we’ll be making progress in the right direction.
We must move towards a zero-carbon energy economy. Bill Gates agrees with me. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, UKIP.

*OK, unfair. I just timed my computer from cold start to being able to use Hotmail (which I consider a fair test, since the browser — whichever flavour — has to be considered an essential part of the ‘operating system’ of a home computer these days). It took just over two and a half minutes. It just feels like it still takes five minutes to start up. An improvement of 50% over fifteen-year-old competition? Not that great. But then, Bill’s only human, just like the rest of us. Only Butch Cassidy’s vision is perfect 🙂

About pendantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
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