Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Letters / The elephant in the room

Mr Herraghty’s contribution to the future energy debate is much welcomed, even by me, as an erstwhile Green. I would not quibble about the vast array of useful statistics he presents to us.

Reality check


What he and others – for or against renewables – always seem fail to address is the pre-questions in the debate. Elephants in the room perhaps, because they address or go to the heart of our behaviours in relation to energy.

What are the questions then about energy that are hardly addressed?What do we need the energy for? How do we best utilise the energy we produce? Can we live better with less energy?

These questions come down to our individual and collective behaviours. If we started by addressing how we live and work in relation to energy we might be surprised at how little, comparatively, we need.

That requirement to address behaviours and look at outputs will require change, significant change.

It is oft asserted that we humans are not good at change and/or adapting to change, yet much of our measured success as a species is almost entirely down to our unique abilities to adapt to our environment and the changes we often perhaps unwittingly provoke as a species. (Adaptation of technologies of war for peaceful and productive ends. Nuclear bomb to nuclear power for example.)

In short, the consequences of our decision and actions need to be at the foremost of our thinking I’d suggest.

The challenges of behavioural change I suspect are much greater than the endeavours of scientific research and technological development. Weighing up the advances in these compared to the advances in behaviour there is simple no contest.

Despite a much more peaceful world, we still create wars, we compete (often unnecessarily) when we could and should cooperate. Maintaining an economic system that glorifies accumulation by a few at the cost of the many, and the planets finite resources, just doesn’t make any logical survivalist sense. What is it the billionaires hope to achieve with their often-ill-gotten gains?

Our advances as a species in science and technology are not matched by our advances in behaviours and practiced ethics and morals.

Philosophical thought seems to have stopped at the advent of the fascism, which clearly took a firm hold of our human world in the 20th century and has survived despite the just war of 39-45.

Communism failed, having never really been out into practice, with most of its cheerleaders resorting to fascistic tendencies – USSR and China. China only survives because it has the combination of fascism embracing that more pernicious and exploitative form of economics, state capitalism. The worst of both worlds then in terms of humanity outcomes and over- exploitation of our liveable resources.

So back to Mr Herraghty’s hard work. Does he proffer any ideas about how to ameliorate the cliff edge we are heading to in relation to our relationship with energy consuming the planet, be it through pursuing ‘renewables’ or non- renewables? I didn’t notice any.

Thermodynamics teaches us the tendency is towards chaos in physical chemistry. Is it possible as the universe expands chaotically that our species might endeavour to expand our consciousness orderly to address the behaviours that are currently clearly leading to our ultimate demise as a species, never mind taking the rest of natural world with us?

I respectfully ask Mr Herraghty, as I do all those who seek to denigrate those searching and applying potential alternatives to the energy provision question, what is it you propose?

James J Paton
Shetland Green