Issue Date: August 11, 2008
Implementing Energy Alternatives
The thoughts expressed in the letters by Stephen Kennedy and Elliott Doane, namely, supporting the installation of nuclear power stations and producing battery-driven autos, are exactly my own (C&EN, May 19, page 6). These proposals will solve the U.S. energy dependence problem and provide a huge reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
My major interest, however, is what has to happen for these obvious proposals to be implemented. The high price of gasoline will probably provide the impetus for battery-driven autos, as long as such actions do not cause a large fall in the price of oil before the price of battery-powered autos has become competitive with gasoline-powered ones. Concerning nuclear power, considering current public fears of anything with the word “nuclear” in it, it is likely that some focusing event is needed, along with top political leadership.
My sense is that we will have to wait until it is perceived that wind, solar, and other carbon dioxide-free energy sources will take us only a little distance and that some unpleasant event caused by global warming is required. Only then will nuclear power be shown as the way to go and public distrust be overcome. Unfortunately, this may cause a delay which, if the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is correct, will create major world problems.
Malcolm L. Watts
Kennett Square, Pa.
July 21, page 57: High school students who won Bayer’s recent environmental film festival were identified incorrectly in this photo. They are the ones wearing sunglasses: Benjamin Swanson (from left), Dylan Morris, Ben Kepner, and Andrew Benton.
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