OPINION: Building sustainable future must happen in the present
Free-market organizations who want us to believe that fossil fuels are essential to our global economy ignore historical trends of mankind.
Nicolaus Copernicus, the father of modern astronomy, was ridiculed for arguing that Earth was not the center of the universe. Today, scientists are ridiculed for alerting us to the dangers of burning fossil fuels.
In Pennsylvania, we strip-mined coal to meet the energy needs of our great country. We failed to recognize the damage we were doing by creating huge piles of mining waste, by walking away from strip mines without restoring natural contours and vegetation, and by polluting waterways with acid mine drainage that continues to destroy aquatic life.
In Oregon, Pennsylvania and elsewhere in our country, we used leaded gasoline to improve automobile performance. Leaded gasoline is still used in some aircrafts today. Fortunately, we recognized the dangers of lead poisoning and minimized its use before irreversibly contaminating the Earth.
Now, we need to recognize the damage that fossil fuels are causing, and change our ways once again. We need to electrify our energy supply systems to eliminate fossil fuel consumption.
One way to do this is to convert to electric vehicles, which are far superior to gasoline-powered vehicles.
EVs can be designed to support the electric power system as well as to consume energy. Gasoline engines in automobiles cannot return energy to the grid like future EVs. Gasoline engines are so inefficient that fans and radiators dissipate waste energy.
The disadvantages of EVs, such as limited driving range, can be solved with ingenuity and innovation.
We need to think long term: 100 years, 1,000 years, 10,000 years into the future when we consider environmental impacts.
We cannot irreparably damage our planet. We need to consider our grandchildren's grandchildren.
Tony Sleva is president of Prescient Transmission Systems, a Hillsboro-based company focused on next-generation power system concepts.
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