A very rambly show. I start off by apologizing for not attending the “big climate rally” on Friday the 24th, which is in principle an ideal venue to speak out with hope and positivity, and and remind people that we do have solutions to our problems ― but a pro–nuclear activist was assaulted at the march in Berlin.
Then I try (with a little help from Chauncey Starr, one–time Director–General of the International Atomic Energy Agency) to dig into the mindset of the “Negawatts not Megawatts” people, who say we just need to cut back energy use. This leads me to comparing energy and electricity consumption figures for various countries ― 6.81 “tonnes oil equivalent” primary energy supply, and 13 098 kilowatt hours of electricity, per head of population and per annum in the United States, 5.33 and 24 047 in Norway, 17.40 / 54 605 in Iceland with its enormous hydroelectric potential ; 2.30 and 4906 in PR China, 1.90 / 6299 in Hong Kong, 4.65 / 11 227 in Taiwan ; 5.47 and 11 082 in South Korea, 0.56 / 509 in North Korea. [All figures refer to 2018, and are taken from the 2020 edition of OECD–IEA Key World Energy Statistics.]
This further leads me to discuss the fascinating inversion by which manufactured goods are now being sold by poorer countries to wealthier ones, and to tie that to changing patterns of energy consumption, and thus to the enormous human and environmental cost of coal mining in China. Maybe I’ll be more coherent next week!
2021–09–28 More from the 1979 ENC and FORATOM Conference. Included is my attempt at reading out part of one of the German–language contributions, because it really impressed me. A translation would be meritorious.