The climate change challenge is a direct result of the enormous amounts of fossil fuels we choose to burn on a daily basis, leading to a rise in global temperatures. The problem is essentially an energy change one, and a change of mind-set on the issue has become the substantive challenge of the age. This means abandoning our ingrained dependence on fossil fuels, which has evolved over 200 years, equivalent to many human generations. The developed world is designed, built, and engineered to run on a cheap, readily available supply of the primary fossil fuels: coal, gas, and oil. So it’s not just our attitude that needs changing, it is also every piece of engineering that relies on fossil fuels, from power stations to manufacturing plant and machinery to transport and home heating. The reality is that we won’t solve 21st-century climate change problems with the same 20th-century thinking that got us here in the first place. We need to think differently…. and thats where the Elon Musk’s of this world come in.
We need to be more innovative and develop a new confidence that will help drive the change necessary to wean us off fossil fuels . The technology is developing fast, now we just need greater confidence in its ability to replace the traditional and obviously more familiar modes of energy production such as combustion engines. But its not just transport where past habits left unchallenged will enslave our future dependency, in all forms of energy production and use. Take for instance an article in todays Irish Sunday Independent (3rd april 16) by John Reynolds, where he interviews John Quinn of photonomi Energy. The article outlines how Photonomi Energy needs only daylight to provides heating, cooling, hot water and electricity. With traditional solar it says you could only have heating, cooling and hot water or electricity. It goes on to say that the technology is over four times more efficient than some traditional solar power. Whether John Quinn has the silver bullet to …”maybe even change the world” is not what matters here, what actually matters, is that we embrace and support these intrepid entrepreneurs as they endeavour to change the fundamental concepts of how we interact with the energy that will power tomorrows world.