From predictions to planning
Predict and plan
Walter Storey (22 June) assumes that our consumption of electricity will rise and asks where this will come from. Electricity currently represents a small proportion of our energy use.
The ‘energy hierarchy’ has as its top priority ‘energy saving’ (don’t use it). This is followed by ‘energy efficiency’, ‘renewables’, ‘low emissions’ (carbon capture and storage) and, if you have to, ‘conventional fuels’.
There are many ways to reduce the need for energy – plan new towns and housing developments so that people don’t need to use cars; insulate new houses so they hardly need to be heated.
Nuclear power generates approximately the same amount of carbon dioxide as wind energy when construction costs are taken into account, but now costs more. Nuclear power mainly provides base load, whereas wind is intermittent.
Neither could cope as well as gas with the enormous morning rise in usage of energy during the winter months as everyone’s heating systems came on.
With regard to biomass and waste for power generation, there are questions over the use of virgin wood. Residual waste can provide a useful source of electricity or can be digested to provide methane. In the waste hierarchy it is lower than reduction, reuse and recycling. The quantities are significant, but could only provide a small proportion of our electricity or gas usage.
We need to predict now, as we plan and build, what the requirement will be in the year 2050.
I felt a great deal of empathy with Ken Orchard in his article ‘The Search’ (1 June), as I’m sure many other readers did. Having travelled the same road myself (we all do, actually), the matter was summed up for me by Rollo May, the American existential psychologist, in his enlightening book Man’s Search for Himself.
Siddhārtha and Yeshua, the great spiritual teachers, both made the same observations 500 years apart – although it has to be said that The Buddha, unlike The Christ, was not influenced by Judaism.
Siddhārtha observed that the true nature of a person is like a hidden jewel waiting to be discovered.Yeshua observed, 500 years later: ‘The kingdom of heaven is within you’, and that it is a ‘pearl of great price’.
Further ‘parallel sayings’ can be found in another important book, Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings, which is edited by Marcus Borg (a Christian) with an introduction by Jack Kornfield (a Buddhist).
We live and, ever so slowly, we learn that God is love.
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