Climate change and right wing populism

Torstai 10.8.2023 klo 11:18 - Mikko Nikinmaa

With the hottest July ever in the world, heat spells in all continents of the northern hemisphere simultaneously, devastating wildfires, floods and droughts everywhere, one would think that people would finally accept that climate change is here already, and that mankind needs to put significant effort into preventing it from getting worse.

But no, in the minds of right-wing populists, climate change is left-wing hoax. No matter what the evidence says, no matter what the news are, no matter what the scientists say. In USA the conservative thinktank Heritage Foundation has given out a book Project 25, which would essentially scrap all the climate plans of the present government if a Republican president were elected in 2024. Needless to say that it would be a catastrophe for world’s climate, as USA is one of the countries with the greatest carbon dioxide emissions per capita. As compared to European Union, the emissions per person are roughly double, and as compared to world average more than four times greater. (Because of its large population, China is the country with the largest emissions in the world. However, its per capita emissions are about the same as EU’s). Similarly, the Finnish populistic right wing party – presently in government – has opposed “the green shift” of energy production and industrial production claiming that it is too expensive for the taxpayer. At the same time, the calculations of industry show that “green shift” would generate unprecedent amount of foreign investments in Finland. These examples indicate that right-wing populism has started treating climate change as “culture war” issue. To support actions against climate change makes you to belong to the left (or greens which is just as bad).

Because climate has become an issue in culture war, little can be done to change the opinions of right-wing populists. The only way to prevent the devastating implications their policy actions is to make sure that they cannot rise to power, or if they are in power, to make sure that they lose the power in next elections.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: culture war, green shift, carbon dioxide footprint

Tidal Energy - an Almost Untapped Major Energy Source

Tiistai 29.11.2022 klo 13:39 - Mikko Nikinmaa

Moon gravity creates tides, felt everywhere in oceanic coasts. Tides have immense energy, probably more so than the inland waters, which have been used for generating electricity for years. Furthermore, as flowing water, tides are very regular, occurring regardless of sunshine or wind. Thus, the tidal energy does not suffer from the problems with solar and wind power, i.e., marked daily or seasonal variation. Further, huge tides wash the coasts of many of the world’s rich countries, and in principle the technology for generating electricity from tidal energy is already available.

Because of the above, one would imagine that tidal power features strongly in the renewable energy sector. But no, so far there are only a couple of experimental tidal power plants in function. The main reasons for this are probably the following: First, there was no tradition of converting tidal energy to usable power. In contrast, windmills have been around for at least a thousand years, as also riverine power stations. Second, since coal and oil have been cheap, generating energy using the fossil fuels has been the preferred way for energy production.

The situation must change now that we shall combat climate change. A major argument of the fossil fuel lobbying groups has been that the green shift is not really possible, since wind and solar power have marked production fluctuations. The same argument is used by nuclear power advocates, who maintain that in order to get assured constancy of energy production, nuclear power plants are required. However, tidal energy power plants will produce energy at a predictable rate, and building them is both cheaper and more rapid than nuclear power plants. Also, they do not generate carbon dioxide emissions thus representing a true green shift.

Kommentoi kirjoitusta. Avainsanat: climate change, electricity, energy production, green shift, fossil fuels