I think I watch the most TV on weekends. And most of it is C-Span and C-Span2!
This weekend seemed to be an energy themed week. On C-Span there was a really important talk by two people whose names escape me on whether or not geo-engineering should be part of our thinking about what can save us from climate change. Basically one person was saying that cutting CO2 emissions would be great but we will never do it in time- so this will buy us some time and will help to mitigate some of the damage. And the other person argued that we shouldn't even be talking about geo-engineering because it takes our eye off the ball- lowering CO2 emissions, and lets us think there are alternatives.
I fall into the geo-engineering camp. Which is to say that I think we should be at least researching it. I see no evidence that we will lower CO2 emissions significantly, meaningfully, in time. And perhaps by talking about geo-engineering we can get climate change deniers into the conversation. Because if there were an alternative to a massive scale down of industrial civilization, they might be willing to open their minds to what is happening. I think geo-engineering is going to happen. I think it is our only hope. I only hope that we don't mess up the earth too badly in the process. I do admit, though, that simply cooling the planet does not undo all the effects of rising CO2 emissions. Ocean acidification may have to be addressed as well.
On C-Span there was also a forum on the energy forecast for 2014. A lot of talk about natural gas and shale oil and fracking for the near future as alternatives to oil. But no one was talking about EROEI- energy returned on energy invested- which is becoming much less favorable. And no one was really talking much about alternatives to petroleum. Because there aren't good alternatives. We are screwed. Peak oil vs global warming: which will hit first?
After that I watched "Elysium" which I rented from my cable company. That is my new resolution. Watch one movie a week. It was an okay film. But Earth- where all the poor live in the movie- really didn't look that terrible. I mean, it wasn't like the garbage pickers living in the slums in India. People had apartments, and there were hospitals. In fact, I couldn't help noting the irony- one of the main characters is a nurse. And at the end of the movie, they get the med pods from Elysium to come to earth- so that means they no longer need nurses and hospitals and some of the few good jobs there are.
But I guess if you are like me and you work in healthcare, your dream is really to be out of business, because no one is sick or injured. I remember when I worked inpatient at a hospital with a 4 bed stroke unit. It was right next to the rehab unit, so I walked by it every day. And every now and then I would walk by, and it would be empty. And I would smile, and think, today is a good day. No one is having a stoke today.