Gerardo Clemente
President
Mexican Association of Exploration Geophysicists
/
Expert Contributor

The Energy Transition, Clean Energies and Global Warming

By Gerardo Clemente | Mon, 02/28/2022 - 09:00

At the beginning of my life there were no problems with glaciers, we could have a picnic close to home and nobody talked about air pollution and climate change. Technology was incipient compared to today and as humanity, we reached the moon and we did not see the threat of a pandemic. Today, many of those glaciers have disappeared and the areas where we had picnics have been populated. Everyone talks about pollution, energy transition, climate change and clean energy. All based on the response to the 2015 Paris Agreement and on the evidence of global warming and the consequences of not mitigating it soon.

With the demand for energy from a growing population and our capitalistic throwaway culture, everything became disposable. This worked well until we witnessed the consequences of that behavior. From my point of view, there is no fairness and never has been. In the past, various nations required resources to become more powerful. To defend their borders or expand their empires, they explored and conquered other nations, bypassing the original owners, obtaining the natural resources of those nations and using them for their own benefit, stripping those people of their own wealth. Today, the situation has not changed much: the powerful nations contribute most to the production of greenhouse gas emissions, according to statistics, but the worst is the contrast. Meanwhile, billions of people use highly polluting energy, such as coal or burning wood, because it is the only way they have to heat or cook. There are several million who create more emissions using this type of gas, burning fuel in large engines just because they have money to pay. On the other hand, forest fires caused by human activity, plus some emissions from nature, such as volcanic eruptions, have left us a very narrow margin for action in terms of global warming.

We have not yet learned the recipes of Mother Nature. The established concept of wealth, based on the power of money, does not allow us to see that money will not help us at all when there is nothing to buy. What we need is to reinvent the rules and try to be more humane, using ethics as our standard, and looking back to try to understand Nature. In Nature, everything is based on cycles. What is produced naturally and is harmful is compensated and absorbed by other processes that maintain balance. Nature also has the most powerful energy: the wind, ocean waves, it brings life to animals and plants and works to preserve species over millions of years. Why do we not learn from those processes, considering complete cycles of production and disposal of waste from energy consumption? Why do we not talk about and understand the entire cycle and the short- and long-term consequences of the use of each type of energy? Right now, it is not a business issue, it is a global subsistence issue.

Therefore, I do not believe in clean energy as we speak of it now, not until it is shown to be clean, with all the materials necessary to generate, store and distribute it, with an understanding of the effects of its use and a solution for the final disposal of waste. However, that is not enough because we need to change our culture in terms of energy consumption so that we only use enough to live a good life without waste, taking into account all the people who do not have access to technology and other types of energy. In the end, everything depends on what we do as humanity, based on ethics and motivating a global change in terms of avoiding wasting our natural resources, and seeing how to make them last longer, until we learn to live on this planet without doing harm. This is our home, there are no borders and what we do affects us all. The more honest information we share, the more it will help us to live in harmony with the planet.

Photo by:   Gerardo Clemente