National Geographic: Powering the Future

The August issue of National Geographic magazine carries a short but reasonably comprehensive article on our future energy options. Quoting AEAN contributor Marty Hoffert, author Michael Parfit points out the need for government action: "Without a big push from government, he says, we may be condemned to rely on increasingly dirty fossil fuels as cleaner ones like oil and gas run out, with dire consequences for the climate. "If we don't have a proactive energy policy," he says, "we'll just wind up using coal, then shale, then tar sands, and it will be a continually diminishing return, and eventually our civilization will collapse. But it doesn't have to end that way. We have a choice." 

The article discusses in a very accessible way the current status and potential of solar energy (focusing on flat-panel photovoltaics), wind (large and small turbines), biomass (biodiesel in Germany in particular), nuclear fission (discussion of fuel reprocessing and breeders) and fusion (ITER). Good reasons for hope but also for spurring our governments to do more in this article.

Created: 2005-09-19 03:10:22 by Arthur Smith