I am deeply concerned about global warming, and do my part to influence vast, complex planetary weather systems by replacing light bulbs and reusing grocery bags. Together we can make a slight, statistically insignificant difference! But the real test of your concern comes when you have to give up things you really like, such dependable electricity.
As you know, we shouldn’t build nuclear power plants, because they’re scary, and Karen Silkwood died for our sins. Besides, if we get power from our friend the Atom, it will mean there’s no incentive for clean “green” methods like bird-mincing wind turbines, or solar power, which could provide us with limitless power. (Unless the solar farm impinges upon the habitat of the Arizona Squeakrat, in which case, forget it.) Green-enengy enthusiasts believe we can get sufficient energy from wind and solar some day, so we don’t need to get more gas or drill for oil now.
That’s what we think now, anyway. The message is starting to change. This BBC interview interview spells it out quite nicely:
“The grid is going to be a very different system in 2020, 2030,” said Steve Holiday, the CEO of Britain’s “National Grid.” “We keep thinking that we want it to be there and provide power when we need it. It’s going to be much smarter than that. We are going to change our own behaviour and consume it when it is available and available cheaply.”
It’s one thing when an Earnest Youth with a clipboard and a petition wants to tell you how we have to give up electricity to save the planet; it’s quite another when it comes from the chap in charge of making electricity in the first place. There you have it: the next step in readjusting our expectations and experiences downward. Because of intentional scarcities engineered to combat global warming, you will not be able to flip on the switch and get light, or make coffee, or turn on a computer. The power grid will not exist to serve the citizens; the citizens will serve the the objectives of the people who control the power grid. It’s rationing, pure and simple - but it’s not because they couldn’t provide enough power. It’s because they refused to do it. Better to love the darkness than light a candle, you know. All that smoke.
By the way, half of Scotland’s power comes from two atomic plants. Both will close by 2023. The Scottish parliament has banned the construction of new plants. Wikipedia notes that “Scottish leaders hope to replace these with renewables.” Let us know how that works out there, Angus.