Argue for or against the following plan: The public controversy about greenhouse gases?
The public controversy about greenhouse gases is too crisis-oriented and off to one side of more important issues, namely a.) the long-term economic potential of renewable energy generation, b.) the dangers of social instability from rich-poor polarization in developing countries, and c.) dangers of corruption of governments of developing countries by a handful of more and more powerful global corporations.
Since no force available can stop or slow down the most rapid possible industrial development in countries like China, Mexico and India, those fearful of long-term harm to the environment should not waste their energies in controversies based in uncertain science. Rather, all should settle on the single goal of quickly developing cost-effective solar, wind, tidal and geothermal power and getting decentralized generation of such power into place everywhere. ‘Politics’ should be put aside in order to accomplish this.
A World Energy Authority similar in some respects to the United Nations should be formed with the express mission of providing detailed planning for rapid transition to decentralized generation of renewable power in every country. This Authority would also provide scientific research and industrial planning. So great is the latent support for such an Authority, provided it remain ‘non-political’ and single-mission focused, that it would only have to open an office and begin to publicize concrete plans for each country for massive support to flow to it. The Authority’s work would capture the imaginations of tens of thousands of young people in the industrialized countries who could do much of the labor associated with establishing thousands of small generation projects. Use of fossil fuel would continue until it became too expensive.
Publicly subsidized, decentralized generation of cheap power world-wide might ‘kill three birds with one stone.’ No plan could be more effective against poverty created by industrial development in very poor countries. This plan would also co-opt more far-sighted corporations who would be hired in the projects, rather than polarizing many in opposition to more stringent controls on emissions, as is presently the case.
Renewable energy generation is potentially cheaper than generation with fossil fuels. There's no bill for sunshine! Despite imposing capital requirements, pioneering companies could reasonably expect to reap huge profits as sale of super-efficient batteries and photo-voltaic cells, for example, became as common as sale of gasoline is now. What is lacking is a developed, fully-rationalized and well-publicized plan for every country to put decentralized generation in place. As to greenhouse gases, we should aggressively study the climate until we really understand this very complex system.