Saturday, 17 February 2007

Why we need energy education

Reading forum posts on the net about energy needs, energy alternatives climate change and greenhouse gases can be depressing. I mean really depressing.

The general level of energy understanding of people who might otherwise be highly educated and well read is quite appalling.

Let's look at a reoccurring example from the field of vehicles.

A hybrid vehicle poll from Canadian Globe & Mail

Eh? All hybrid vehicles now in production or in the pipeline run on plain old fossil fuels (gas, gasoline or diesel). Even is somebody is stupid enough to some time in the future to build a hydrogen powered vehicle, one must understand that hydrogen is NOT an energy source, but a carrier. Hydrogen must be produced and it takes a lot of energy to produce it. Where does this energy come from? You guessed it: fossil fuels.

And in the above poll 2050 voters thought "It's not necessary" to look at the alternatives. Good grief.

There are various other examples one could site ranging from LED lamps being 100 times as efficient as ordinary lamps (no they are not, look into system efficacy and scotopic luminous power), electricity being cleaner than coal (well duh, it depends on HOW you make the electricity), SUVs having smaller energy needs than current hybrids (can you say "bought partial research"), etc.

The list is just too long and getting longer every day.

The fact of the matter seems to be that the average person is so removed from physical reality or education in basic physical processes that she can be fooled into believing almost any fairy tale.

So PR rules supreme here. Don't fall for it. Check the facts and remember: if it's too good to be true, in 99% of the cases you can stop believing right away.