Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Climate and Energy Issues are Inseparable

As a rational, pragmatic scientifically trained person I cannot dispute the existence of current global warming and the causes behind it and I will not waste electrons debating these facts here anymore than I would the shape of the earth.

But why do I plan to expand to climate issues when my original intentions were to deal first Marcellus Play fracking and then overall energy resources in Pennsylvania?  Well take a look at the graphic below:
U.S. Energy Supply and Demand 2009 (click to enlarge)
The first thing you'll notice is that 83% of the energy used in the U.S. is from sources that emit carbon dioxide. Then look at the right. Those demand sectors represent our modern technologically advanced society and even the process of my writing and your reading this post is likely tapping into that CO2 intensive paradigm.Now this represents the United States, but nearly every country to some degree has a similar web, regardless of cultural, economic or political system.

To me this diagram is the best illustration of the dilemma. If we don't change can we will disrupt a climate favorable to our civilization while at the same time remain vulnerable to the inevitable decline in our major energy sources. And the worst effects will be felt by the poorer and most vulnerable parts of society. But can we change the supply and demand sectors without disrupting economy and destroying the benefits of modern technology? Again, this is a scenario where the worse effects will be felt by the poorer and most vulnerable parts of society.

These issues then cannot looked at in isolation, they are inseparable threads in the fabric of our society. At the base level the problem is a technological one, but solutions can only be implemented if society has the political will and ability to do so.

It is my goal then to try present the news and science on these intertwined issues, but with an emphasis on how this all effects the Keystone State.

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