Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
It seems to me that there are two or three different ways of looking at it. Technologically you could "solve" the transportation problem, but it would be expensive and people might not be happy. Or, you could solve the CO2 problem. Or both. But political realism is probably what the Exxon guy is talking about, and eons of history show that politicians are followers, not leaders. So until there are several repeats of New Orleans-scale flooding, and a change in the Gulf Stream that freezes out Europe, getting the political will to actually do anything will be very tough.

Looking at the problem from the viewpoint of a technologist, though, I think you're too pessimistic.

  • Wind power, at a oil-equivalent price in the neighborhood of $75 a barrel, will provide electricity for fixed-location appliances like air conditioning and heating. Or, nukes.
  • Tractors. Well, you must have missed my proposal for extension cords for tractors. Seriously, this is not a big problem as the diameter of the problem is severely constrained.
  • Electric cars going 100 miles between recharges, and five minute recharges? On the horizon, it seems to me, but let's not get into that argument again.

The point is that if the political community could ever get its act together to say clearly what problems to solve, the engineers could go off into their corners and work on solutions. This is the problem that engineers face every day: Poorly defined, unstable requirements, stated by people who have an axe to grind on every subject.
by asdf on Wed Feb 8th, 2006 at 10:30:45 PM EST
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