What is Global Warming?
Global warming is a phenomenon related to increased levels of carbon in the atmosphere, particularly carbon dioxide gas. Carbon-dioxide is a chemical product of burning carbon-containing materials such as coal, oil, gas, wood and paper.
Carbon dioxide is a ‘greenhouse gas’ meaning it has a particular property whereby it can absorb heat energy (infra-red), which has bounced off the surface of the earth, and re-distribute it back into the atmosphere, rather than allowing it to pass back into space, hence an overall trapping of heat energy. This is fine as long as the balance is right.
Before the invention of the steam engine, the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere was just under 280 parts per million (ppm); it has since risen to 419 ppm, which is more than 50% increase over pre-industrial revolution levels.
We have proof that this imbalance is heating the planet, droughts are becoming more widespread and for longer and contributing to war and famine, ice is melting in the polar regions and mountainous areas, migratory patterns and therefore biodiversity is affected, and many habitats of fellow creatures are dying.
In addition we are seeing changes in the way of ocean acidification, which has already caused changes in colour to parts of the great barrier reef, and is expected to affect shellfish populations. The ability of these fragile systems to continue to thrive is looking increasingly unlikely as most countries’ leaders continue to make superficial and trivial changes. Although the rate of ocean heating is equivalent to about 5 nuclear bombs per second, energy policies worldwide continue to incentivise fossil fuels over nuclear energy.
Unfortunately, many academics, encouraged by radio-phobic organisations such as Campaign against Nuclear Disarmament, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, have plenty of public support in issuing ill-informed arguments on how to manage our predicament. To think that de-carbonisation is possible without nuclear energy goes against the IPPC reports and basic mathematical reason.
As heating and transportation are most energy intensive, it makes sense to replace gas, coal and oil with nuclear powered electricity, including combined heat and power systems, and electric public transport sourced from a nuclear powered electric grid.