Dokie Ridge wind farm near Chetwynd B.C. in 2010. B.C.’s existing wind energy is mostly near the Peace River dams in northeastern B.C. (Black Press files)

Dokie Ridge wind farm near Chetwynd B.C. in 2010. B.C.’s existing wind energy is mostly near the Peace River dams in northeastern B.C. (Black Press files)

LETTERS: Student demand to stop carbon fuel use can’t be achieved

Nuclear power is the only technology that would do it quickly

Re: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed (B.C. Views, March 24).

I agree with Tom Fletcher that green energy alternatives can’t meet our growing energy needs. Not even close.

The problem is that to the uninformed public, green energy looks seductively doable. Plunk wind turbines off-shore and on mountain ridges. Use hydrogen to power vehicles. Place solar panels on rooftops, etc.

Of course, the uniformed public has no idea how much their energy bills will increase if some populist government actually tried to bring about a green energy utopia. Nor do they understand the huge land areas required for wind turbines or the extra expense and decreased efficiency of hydrogen-powered vehicles.

The fickle public screams for adopting green energy, yet protests the Site C dam project. So we’re stuck with fossil fuels, which is a necessary evil in a rapidly warming climate.

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However, we’ve known the answer to this conundrum for decades – nuclear power. It’s the only green energy source that can provide us with all the electricity we need to power a first world economy. Modern designs are much safer than early designs (especially thorium-based nuclear plants).

With excess power to spare we could make all the fuels we need by combining oxygen and hydrogen from water into long-chain alkanes. We could desalinate ocean water for drinking and agriculture. But there is no politician or party willing to push for nuclear.

Both Elizabeth May and Andrew Weaver are fully versed on nuclear technology, but would never endorse it. But India, China and several other nations have plans to build them. Some day they’ll be looking at our sad energy policy and wonder why we didn’t use the power of the atom to get us out of this mess.

Robert Laidler, Victoria

• • •

Thanks to Tom Fletcher for illuminating the improper behaviour of students in recent demonstrations about climate. Besides the immorality of indoctrinating students in their personal ideology, many B.C. teachers flunk science.

The physics of greenhouse gas molecules limits the amount of temperature rise that CO2 can cause to a small amount, most of which has already been realized. That’s because of the ‘saturation’ effect of energy flow from overlap of absorption-emission spectra of carbon dioxide and the most common greenhouse gas, dihydrogen monoxide (water vapour).

Reality is that the climate is not warming at an alarming rate, and sea level is not rising at a rate significantly faster than it has been since the end of the long cool period around 1750AD. (See PSMSL.org for government databases.) Records of surface temperatures are incomplete and contain unexplained ‘adjustments.’ I’ll instead go with traditional weather balloon thermometers and satellite sensors. Climate was stable during the Mycean, Roman, and Medieval warm periods (during which Vikings farmed southwest Greenland).

Climate has always been changing, warm is better for us and our food source (which also benefits from more CO2). Hopefully Earth won’t slide into another ice age.

Keith Sketchley, Saanich

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