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A battery of energy proposals.

Like Dr. Like Dr. Baird, I found the William E. Rees article in the April 2004 issue of ACCN to be "disturbing."

Baird makes a veiled reference to the Malthus theory and its solution, chemical fertilizer. I am not sure that this solution solved more problems than it caused. After all, global population has exploded beyond society's ability to deal with it. To paraphrase Captain Picard of the Starship Enterprise, "20th-century society has progressed in technological areas beyond the ability of our social scientists to deal with the consequences." And prospects for the 21st century are not looking promising.

I have concerns about Baird's solution to our energy problems. He suggests extraction of energy from the environment using temperature differences between geographical locations in Canada. What would this do to our weather patterns? Ice caps are already melting. Our northern indigenous peoples are complaining about seas where there once was ice. This year we are currently freezing in the east while the west is roasting.

I am reminded of the great promises being made of battery- and hydrogen- operated vehicles. These, of course, will produce more pollution and/or, at the very least, more greenhouse gases than they will save. The electricity to charge the batteries and energy to produce and compress the hydrogen will require more non-renewable resources to produce than if we simply continued to burn gasoline. I hasten to add that I am no expert in these areas, but I do remember the entropy laws I studied almost 40 years ago.

The only solution is reduction in demand, and dare I say it, zero or negative population growth. It would be interesting to calculate the number of people this planet can support. I am sure that we have sufficient information to arrive at a reasonably accurate figure. This calculation would have to respect current consumption patterns and the division of global wealth--as only global uprisings against the "west" will change the unconscionable per capita high level consumption in, for example, North America as opposed to India.

G. Boyce, MCIC
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Title Annotation:Letters/Lettres
Author:Boyce, G.
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Sep 1, 2004
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Next Article:Lee Wilson, MCIC, was appointed May 1, 2004 to the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) chemistry department faculty.

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