Energy Control Systems
(This web-site is the property of Clive M. Pearson, retired after a 50 year career as a scientist, engineer, marketer and business manager. He is professionally-qualified, with a degree in Special Physics (now known as Nuclear Physics), and is a Chartered Engineer.)
For the last dozen or so years, I have used my scientific training and multi-disciplinary career experience to study the physical and social effects of global warming. Importantly, I try to promote logically-sound, effective solutions. As an early, sarcastic mentor once said "You're trying, Mr. Pearson, very trying!"
This web-site originated in 2007, and has been updated regularly. Developments in individual topics have been commented upon in my "blog" site, www.brotherhood-of-man.net on a frequent, much more current basis. Having turned 80 years of age in 2014, I have retired from blogging, and my blog site has been frozen.
I sympathise with and respect our politicians, who in Australia must satisfy the short-term requirements of the electorate in order to retain government. However, the survival of civilisation as we know it is dependent upon making rational scientifically-sound decisions. If we are to have any chance of surviving, then environmental policies must be apolitical and be capable of operating in the long-term, but be flexible enough to accommodate the changing outcomes of continuing research.
Policy decisions made now must be determined by our future plans. For example, the development of an electrified intra- and inter-state rail transport network is more important than that of the highway system, which may prove to have insuperable problems in securing a long-term, non-polluting fuel supply for transport.
In time of war, important government decisions would be developed by a War Cabinet, able to draw upon the best talents of Federal, State and Local Government and of Industry. We are now in a state of war!
The 21st. century will either mark the end of the fossil fuel age, or will bring about the end of civilisation as we know it. Make no mistake - global warming is adversely affecting the climate now, is progressive, and will get worse before we can bring it under control or adapt our life style.
The major cause of global warming is our continuing use of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas, as energy sources. The carbon dioxide gas which we produce when we burn fossil fuel is released into the atmosphere, where it thermally insulates the earth, so reducing the loss of heat. So, the atmospheric temperature rises, bringing about climate change. The effects of global warming upon the climate are quite subtle at present, but are escalating. While it is difficult to prove that global warming has a greater effect than natural cyclical climate changes, we can be quite sure that the polar ice caps are receding, ocean levels are rising and extreme adverse weather patterns are becoming more frequent.
We should have learned a lesson more than 25 years ago, when it was discovered that the manufacture and distribution of chlorinated fluorocarbons had a destructive effect upon the uv-absorbing ozone layer. This was addressed by a world-wide ban upon these compounds, which is only now proving to be effective.
The world will depend upon the developed countries to lead the way in the supply of energy from renewable, non-polluting power sources. Fossil fuels, while rapidly becoming depleted, are at present the only viable source of energy for developing countries, and this must be corrected as a matter of urgency. In any event, increasingly we rely upon inexpensive oil, natural gas and coal as the basic raw materials for a range of plastics and other manufactured products. We cannot afford to squander our limited resources of fossil fuels.
If we are to halt and possibly reverse global warming, we must reduce the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This may be accomplished by (1) changing our lifestyle in order to reduce energy consumption (2) halting the combustion of fossil fuels (3) recycling our waste products (4) increasing the use of renewable energy sources (5) developing the technology to "lock-up" atmospheric carbon dioxide (6) developing "hot rock" and geo-thermal power sources (7) increasing the use of safe, non-polluting thermonuclear power and (8) developing nuclear fusion power (unfortunately, as yet, still a dream for the future). Each of these topics is complex, all are dealt with individually under the relevant headings on this site.
At the same time as we bring greenhouse gas emissions under control, in Australia we need to augment and manage our water resources. In considering the relative economics of the available methods of power generation, we must include the total costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, of handling waste products, and of increasing water supplies. If we can increase water supplies, to the point that we can protect our farming sector from the effects of drought, then we can revitalise our rural communities, provide meaningful employment opportunities in the Outback, plan our farming output from year to year, and achieve a steady growth in GDP.
Climate Scientist Professor Barry Brook, currently at the University of Tasmania, formerly at Adelaide University, has for several years undertaken peer-reviewed, unbiased comparative studies of the economics and aplication of all types of energy sources. With the support of almost 100 internationally-recognised scientists, late in 2014 he published an open letter to environmentalists, seeking their unbiased co-operation in developing solutions to the problems of climate change. His work and comments are published on his web-site, http://www.bravenewclimate.com
Energy Control Systems is a private, not-for-profit venture of retired consultant Clive M. Pearson, Chartered Engineer, B.Sc. Special Physics (London). All information on this site is © 2015 Clive M. Pearson, but may be used free of charge, subject to acknowledgement of the source.