Concerns continue to mount over climate change — driven by spiralling carbon emissions, dwindling global oil supplies — fomenting ongoing regional conflicts, air pollution — including sulphates and soot leading to chronic health problems, degraded waterways and forests — caused by acidification and heavy metal pollution. The list goes on, and these are just the fossil-fuel-related environmental problems we must tackle. In this context, the lack of a coherent sustainable energy policy — from virtually any nation — almost leads one to despair. Steve Kirsch has written about this failure recently with reference to the US, but the lack of vision is near universal. Is this simply the product of human nature — an inevitable failure of societies to recongnise the seriousness of unsustainable practices until it is all too late?
I don’t believe it must be this way. There are positive visions out there — aspirations for a future world in which all people’s basic needs are met, and opportunities are created to allow for ongoing improvement in quality of living, without ‘powering down’ some baser, lower-energy state. Aims to achieve a global society that is recognisably modern and ‘high tech’, yet is one which also strives to protect biodiversity from destruction, maintain vital ecosystem services, and ensure a vibrant, habitable and sustainable planet in perpetutity. It can be done, and it must be done.
These are bold ideas. But how to realise them? No one can say with certainty, but that must not stop us trying our damndest to achieve such goals. In that spirit, and with these initiatives as our inspiration, I am proud to announce that a group of concerned global citizens has founded an organisation called the Science Council for Global Initiatives (SCGI).
Humanity already has the technology to implement a global energy revolution. We can now usher in a post-scarcity era while solving the most intractable problems that threaten life on Earth.
The Science Council for Global Initiatives is a growing international group of scientists, politicians, activists and other concerned men and women working together to articulate cohesive, efficient policies for solving the most serious problems ever faced by mankind. Resource wars, globe-girdling pollution, the threat of serious climate disruption; these challenges demand immediate international cooperation and inspiration on an unprecedented level. The world-class members of SCGI are creating the foundations for political and social structures that will enable us to meet the formidable challenges of the 21st century.
The technologies available will not, in and of themselves, solve our problems. While their deployment and utilization are critical, powerful industries and traditions will resist the paradigm shift that must inevitably take place. The solutions must not only be presented to our national and international leaders. The citizenry must become informed and vocal enough in their advocacy of these remedies to overpower the special interests that strangle political leadership in so many countries around the world.
On the SCGI web site you will find an ever-growing resource base to understand the technologies that can turn the tide and lead humanity not just back from the brink of global crisis, but which can take us to the threshold of an era beyond scarcity. SCGI is dedicated to uplifting the standard of living of everyone, not just the relative few who enjoy the comforts of a “developed country” lifestyle.
We can now accomplish these goals:
- Reduce human-caused greenhouse gas emissions to a trickle
- Eliminate air pollution
- Recycle spent nuclear fuel
- Power our vehicles with zero-emission energy systems
- Bring the fossil fuel era to an end
- End resource wars, including looming water wars
- Provide abundant energy and fresh water to every nation
- Diminish the world’s nuclear arsenals, turn old nuclear weapons into energy
- Effortlessly recycle virtually all of our waste products
Technologies that can lead us to a post-scarcity era:
- Integral Fast Reactors (using “nuclear waste” for fuel)
- Zero-emission vehicle technologies
- Plasma recyclers
Founding members of SCGI include the following: Tom Blees (SCGI President, author of Prescription for the Planet), Barry Brook (yours truly), Yoon Chang (former Associate Director of the Argonne National Laboratory and co-developer of the IFR), James Hansen (head of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies), Steve Kirsch (inventor, entrepreneur and philanthropist), Joe Schuster (chemical engineer and author of Beyond Fossil Fools), George Stanford (nuclear reactor physicist and author of Nuclear Shadowboxing: Contemporary Threats from Cold War Weaponry), Dan Meneley (Engineer Emeritus, Atomic Energy of Canada), Louis Circeo (Director of Plasma Research, Georgia Tech Research Institute), Charles Till (Associate Director of Argonne National Laboratory prior to Yoon Chang, and co-developer of the IFR), Eugene Preston (power systems engineer and electricity transmission planner) and Ray Hunter (former Deputy Director of the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology at the US DOE). David Mackay (newly appointed appointed Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change) is a guest contributor to SCGI. A number of other significant members of SCGI (some more big international names) will be announced in due course.
The Board of Directors includes Adrian Borsa (Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego), Douglas Carroll (General Electric Nuclear Energy Project, retired — directed the PRISM Project, an Integral Fast Reactor design), Ron Gester (retired emergency physician), J. Bernard Minster (Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Scripps), Michael Williamson (marine geophysicist and CEO of Williamson & Associates, Inc) and Nicole Blees (SCGI Secretary).
For those who’ve read Prescription for the Planet, SCGI is the real-world genesis of the GREAT (global rescue energy alliance trust) initiative described in detail in Chapters 10, 11 and 13. So prepare yourself, and stay tuned — SCGI has truly grand plans afoot, and little time to lose!