TED Conversations

Skye Kelly

Executive Director, Heal One World

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Can we expect emerging countries to curb their energy consumption, even though we had decades of flagrant use?

China, India and other emerging countries- from 3rd to 1st world in a flash- are beginning to start using resources the way we have here in the USA for decades now- some are just "basic" like indoor electricity and city infrastructures, to more grandiose things like air conditioning, SUV's and sky scrapers. With their immense populations all looking for the western way of life, mcdonalds and all- can we try and hold them to any consumption standards? To reduce fossil fuel consumption in particular. To learn from our mistakes? Should we offset them by making deeper cuts at home? Even if it is more costly upfront- how can we have them see that renewable energy may save a lot in the long run? Do you know of some countries at the forefront? I know of Germany, but in the emerging sector? It seems these countries maybe the tipping point for many issues regarding sustainability?


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    Sep 25 2012: I don't know that we can (or should) try to control usages of fossil fuels by other countries. The bottom line in life is that you can only control you OWN choices and actions... The moment you try to control someone else - no matter the justification - you become a despot (however well intentioned).

    Thus I propose a simpler, though more difficult, solution to the problems you address. WE do what many other countries are doing.... invest heavily in the renewable energy industry, make every building a net generator(as far as possible) and reap the cost benefits... in short, let's work HERE to do what Germany and Sweden, and Norway have done, reap the benefits of that and lead the way based on cost savings... The technology is almost ready... Solar is in it's 4th generation, Wind in well into it's 3rd.

    While I absolutely agree that SOMETHING needs to change, I just don't know that it's possible (much less morally defensible) to force OUR choices down someone-elses' throat..

    Bottom Line: WE as a society (and as individuals) need to take and accept responsibility for OUR actions and choices.... Including the responsibility for allowing OUR legislators the leeway to serve corporate interests before the interests of the Citizens!

    A little off-topic but; this principal also applies to the abortion debate going on on now in the US.
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      Sep 28 2012: Thumbs up!
    • Sep 29 2012: Kris: it is quite unnecessary to control "other people's fossil fuel consumption". By a stroke of luck, there is a cheap, safe, green , unlimited energy source already invented and demonstrated. Look up Thorium, liquid Fueled Reactor (LFTR) on Youtube., The Chinese are already reviving this forgotten US technology.
    • Sep 30 2012: Kris: I'm sympathetic with your motives, but you do realize that a lot of "renewables" are an outright scam, like Ethanol, and others are simply well meaning, but totally inadequate.? If we want to maintain at least our present level of civilisation, we are going to require a power source that is, well, powerful.. "Renewables" , are not, and cannot realistically be made so. In the meantime, Thorium LFTR power can do the job rather easily, comparted to the alternatives. There is really only a short term need for burning fossil fuels; they should be saved to make plastics, etc.

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