Friday, November 03, 2006

Planet management 101

The problem with renewable forms of energy production such as solar and wind power is that they only produce electricity when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, so the power has to be used then and there. If there could be a way of storing the electricity, then it could be on tap when it was needed at peak times. Until such time as industrial strength superconductors can be used, I think the answer should be as follows:
Use flywheels to store electricity for night-time and calm days.
Use the electricity to extract hydrogen from water. This will provide the fuel for vehicles.
Encourage everyone to have a solar panel on their roof, and a windmill in their garden.
Use the world's deserts as solar energy farms.
The more solar panels there are, the more surface area there is, to reflect sunlight away from the Earth and help cool the planet, thereby reducing the global warming. Of course, if there's too much reflection, there's a risk of triggering an ice age, so we might have to balance it with carbon emissions.
Why's no-one talking about the Gaia Hypothesis any more? A very good scientific test, is to see whether the increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere triggers a reaction in the Biosphere to counteract its effects.
We should be looking at this global-warming crisis, not as a disaster, but as a learning opportunity - a crash course in planetary management. If we come through this, we will be masters of climate control - an essential skill if we intend to terraform other worlds.

1 comment:

Sapient Fridge said...

Err, I'm not sure I understand the comment about solar panels reflecting sunlight. The whole point of them is to absorb sunlight rather than reflect it! They are normally black in colour.

There *is* a biosphere reaction to excess CO2 in the atmosphere, it causes plants to grow faster (which takes the CO2 out of the atmosphere again).

The problem is, of course, that mankind is happily deforesting large areas of the planet at the same time as adding the CO2. Oops.