6 April 2010

Hidden Cost of Dirty Energy - Korol Diker

Energy costs have always been a hot topic all around the world. Oil crises, gas pipelines, first investment estimations, etc. are made from an economic perspective. But power generation from each and every energy source has additional costs to the environment and the local communities living close.
Energy sources like coal and nuclear energy creates destruction at every point of their cycle; from mining, processing, transporting to the final wastes. Mechanical processes during uranium mining hazardous elements like Thorium, Radium, and Radon-222 are released. Couple months ago Greenpeace found high radiation contamination levels on the streets of Niger.
Nevertheless coal mining also has huge destructive effects on environment. Coal mining causes widespread deforestation, soil erosion, water shortages and pollution. All around the world locations where coal mining is being made the effects make it almost impossible for the local communities to continue to their daily lives.
150.000 additional deaths per year
The destruction continues during electricity generation; fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas cause CO2 emissions, which are triggering the catastrophic climate change. Global climate change caused by the relentless build-up of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere, is already disrupting ecosystems and is already casuing about 150.000 additional deaths per year. An average global warming of 2C threatens millions of people with increased risk of hunger, maleria, flooding and water shortages. Besides this, nuclear power, coal power plants and all other fossil fuels pose multiple threats and damages on people and the environment.
On the other hand nuclear energy bearing unacceptable risks to the environment and human beings creates highly radioactive wastes during electricity generation. These and more are the hidden costs of dirty energy sources. They don’t reflect to our electricity bills or aren’t taken in to consideration when estimation are being made but usually the real cost is a lot more then what we see in our electricity bills.
Turkey has a solution!
On the other hand sustainable growth is a must for governments and the rising demand for energy is the main issue to be solved. In November 2009 Greenpeace proposed a very different way of planning our energy demand and consumption. Energy Revolution Scenario for Turkey was prepared together with EREC (European Renewable Energy Counsel). The scenario is providing sustainable growth and at the same time showing the pathway of a clean and fare energy future.
Actually the report showed that Turkey might not have to generate that much energy and the energy efficiency is creating the base of the whole scenario. Another thing, report is pointing out is that this total new system is less expensive than the reference scenario. In 2050 Energy Revolution scenario will be 2 Euro cents less expensive for kWh, than the reference scenario.
When we also take in to consideration that renewable energies and energy efficiency solutions provide more and better jobs, it looks a lot more sustainable than the traditional dirty and inefficient energy generation ways.
But to be able to make an energy revolution; to end our dependency to dirty energy sources –which is also a huge budget item in Turkish economy- new and supportive energy policies are also needed. Government should end the incentives given to coal and nuclear energy and develop the current renewable energy law. To stop the catastrophic climate change, end our energy dependency and create a clean and fare energy future we must make this revolution; from top to each and every person.
Renewable energy combined with the smart use of energy, can deliver half of the world’s energy near by 2050. Time is running out. Scientific opinion now agrees that the climate change is happening, is caused in large part by human activities such as burning fossil fuels. But Energy Revolution Report which is published by Greenpeace and EREC shows that it is economicaly feasible to cut global CO2 emissions by almost 50% within the next 40 years. Also the report demonstrates that renewable energy (wind, biomass, photovoltaic, solar, thermal, geothermal, ocean and hydroelectirc power) is not a dream for the future, it is real, mature and can be deployed on a large scale.

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