GHG Emissions - Can a Prevention is better than Cure strategy help

Dr. L. Ramakrishnan

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#1
This subject has been bothering me for quite sometime. I can not understand the procrastination of nations to address the use of fossil fuels.

We all know that with the use of more and more fossil fuels like coal and petroleum products, which is necessary to fuel the growth of economies which are struggling to move forward and improve the lives of people, Green House Gas (especially carbon dioxide) emissions will go up and will affect the climate.

We also know that one of the best strategies in environmental management is "Prevention is better than cure".

I believe that even though alternatives for fossil fuels are available there is NO concerted effort to "ban" the use of fossil fuels to run our thermal power plants, automobile and aeroplanes, so that we avoid the emission of carbon dioxide. Instead we are trying to cut down the emissions through disruptive technologies and process improvements.

If we are serious that Climate Change is an issue, should we not take a hard decision? Did we not phase out ODS chemicals systematically (Montreal Protocol) ? Can we not phase out the use of GHG emitting fuels likewise ? Can the international community, instead of going through the beaten path of the Kyoto Protocol, take a bold decision to take it on itself to shift to non-carbon emitting fuels or other technologies to avoid GHG emissions ? The human brain is more fertile when it is challenged, than when the status quo is maintained. I am sure plenty of opportunities exist here; what is required is an external and internal pressure to act.

This subject, alternative fuels, is going to be one of the major factors in determining competitiveness of nations..... Is your country ready for a ban on the use of fossil fuels and switch to alternative clean fuels ?
 

somashekar

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#2
Sir.
Is the alternative clean fuels technology commercially viable ?
One cannot have the fuel resource and ban its use, without its commercial near alternative. Technology is advancing towards minimizing GHG emissions, keeping the wheels of economy moving.
If, for example lead free soldering technology was not commercially viable, would RoHS in EEE be ever possible.
The world is far away from this viability in alternative clean fuels technology. The simple hierarchy of controls (OHSAS pet word) is here.
 

Dr. L. Ramakrishnan

Forum Moderator
Moderator
#3
Thank you Somashekar for your views.

The idea of this blog is to question the "business as usual" approach to an URGENT need.

Serious problems need serious attempts at solutions

When Montreal Protocol was signed, the commercially viable alternatives to CFCs were not immediately available; it has taken many years for the substitutes to be commercially available to countries like India. But once the decision to phase out CFCs was taken, there were solutions that came up.

One does not need to wait for a commercially viable alternative to be available to announce a phased elimination of the use of fossil fuels. There are many alternatives available and technically proven (e.g. hydrogen fuel). Already we are witnessing solar energy prices dropping (from about Rs.15/= per kwh to about Rs.9-10 /= per kwh in a period of about 5 years); in some places in India, solar power will be economically attractive compared to grid power in a few years. It is only a matter of time that the economy of scale tilts the balance towards solar energy from fossil fuel based Thermal power.

Even today if the externalities of thermal power production are internalized, one will find that other sources of power are as attractive or even more attractive than fossil fuel based power.

My understanding is that if the use of "fossil fuel" is banned (or phased out), there is an incentive to move to methods that do not cause GHG emissions and the consequent climate change. If the past is any indication, these bans are not announced for immediate application, a reasonable time is given to look and develop alternatives. This is the situation I am looking for.

Even if we take the case of ROHS, the draft directive was issued sometime in 2002, with an indication that the directive will come into effect in 2006. There was enough time to develop alternatives. It is not that RoHS was introduced only after alternatives for tin/lead solders were available at economically attractive prices.

In my assessment it is only the willingness of the Society to move away from "business as usual" to "hard/intelligent/disruptive" solutions to Climate Change, that will save this world from catastrophe.

Kind regards,

Ramakrishnan
 

Dr. L. Ramakrishnan

Forum Moderator
Moderator
#4
I understand that the IPCC Report published this week proposes a phase out of the use of fossil fuels (Ref: The Hindu, 03 Nov 2014); but the proposal is not ambitious at all - the proposal is to phase out such fuels by the end of the century !
 

Dr. L. Ramakrishnan

Forum Moderator
Moderator
#5
One thought crossed my mind after my last post. I thought I should share that concern with you for your views.

If we stop emitting carbon dioxide what happens to those plants (planted to sequester carbon dioxide and that naturally grown) that depend on the carbon dioxide ? Will there be a reduction in the green cover of the world if we stop emitting carbon dioxide ? What is the effect of such a reduction ?

We know that whenever man meddles with nature he faces disastrous consequences.

Are we in for one more such disaster ?
 
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