I read a dumb post on Imgur about
EPA lobbyingrenewable energy sources. The crux of the arguement was a bumper sticker-level strapline:
Wind stops. The sky goes dark. This is why we need clean coal.
Even acknowledging the crumb of an argument about wind and solar power, it just left me completely dumbfounded.
Yes, the wind does stop.
Yes, the sky does go dark.
But coal? Coal definitely lasts forever...
I think that if nature follows its course, then yes, coal will always be around. This is since coal is formed largely from dead plant matter, carbon recycled from organisms. Surface life recycles itself as coal. Assuming the future is like the past in cosmic terms.
This is the response most people gave to the idiot post I referred to originally.
For me, I don't see why tidal power isn't better utilised or further researched. Even Bill O'Reilly sees how the tide works. So:
The wind stops.
The sky goes dark.
Tide goes in, tide goes out. You can't explain that.
It, at least, doesn't stop. Unless some sort of cosmic disaster affects the moon.
In geologic time, cosmic disasters do occur. Sometimes on what might seem to a cyclical basis, and sometimes random or arbitrary. The Younger Dryas (12,900 - 11,600 BP), saw major portions of the world remade by various disasters including truly massive flooding, and may have been initiated by a comet.
As a denizen of the saltwater shoreline for over 50 years, I can vouch that little of what man puts into the sea lasts for very long, at least not without serious maintenance. Previous experiments with tidal generating devices have sometimes seen the infrastructure simply swept away, a total loss.
But I'm not a defender of coal in terms of its terrible polluting effects. I simply acknowledge it was indispensable to building the civilization we know through the Bronze, Iron and Steel ages. Today, vast numbers of people around the globe rely on coal for heat and electricity; for a bearable life. The sheer increase of numbers of humans on the planet drives urgent need for ever more resources, not fewer. Someday a new Ice Age will cycle through, the Earth will be made anew (aside from a few decaying nuclear piles) and civilization start all over again with a new Stone Age.