|Energy density - more than an engineering detail [PopAtomic.org]|
Contribution to the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival at Gateshead on 6th November:
Anne McElvoy chairs a debate about the impact of a future energy crisis on our way of life, recorded in front of an audience at the BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival 2011
How will our world change as traditional energy supplies shrink and climate change forces us to use less fossil fuels? Should we return to a locally-focused pre-modern lifestyle where travel is a luxury for the few, will conflict over declining resources destabilise the globe, or will science save the day?
Debaters include Paul Younger, Director of the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability, the philosopher Melissa Lane from Princeton University, scientist Colin McInnes and gobal energy specialist Neil Hirst.
Energy production should be a simple matter of physics, engineering and economics taken strictly in that order. But in Scotland we have added our own colourful politics into the mix. Some see a future where nationalist renewable electrons will flood south along the interconnector, while others argue unionist nuclear electrons will need to flow north when the wind stops blowing.