US President George Bush’s refusal to ratify the Kyoto treaty on global warming has been greeted with almost universal disgust. As the biggest polluter in the world, as well as the most powerful country, surely America has some responsibility to show the way forward.
However, Bush’s stance doesn’t really paint a true picture of US intent, and while he does have the support of the hard-core polluters, many of whom bankrolled his election campaign, far-sighted industrialists are unlikely to stop their push towards lower emissions and more environmentally friendly technologies.
The bottom line is that fossil fuels are running out. By 2010, OPEC states will have over 50% of the world oil business, and sometime this century the switch from growth to decline in the oil industry will leave the gas guzzlers marooned.
Ironically, it’ll probably be American businesses that eventually make the administration see sense, the market for clean technology is going to be huge and the countries that do ratify will have the commercial edge over those that don’t. One clean technology that’s really beginning to come out of the laboratory is the Hydrogen fuel cell, and, as we already know, the US leads the world in fuel cell development.
Two to three times more effecient than the internal combustion engine, the only emission from a hydrogen fuel cell is water and the US market for fuel cells and related products is predicted to rise by 400% through 2004 to $2.4 billion.
To date fuel cells have been limited largely to space related applications, but new uses are emerging all of the time. From domestic heating systems, to buses and cars this technology is fast becoming big business, Indeed, you can now specify and buy fuel cells and fuel cell stacks online (www.fuelcellstore.com).
It’s widely thought that the introduction of fuel cells into the transportation sector will become an important strategy to mitigate climate change. In the future, a combination of high efficiency fuel cells and fuels from renewable energy sources could nearly eliminate greenhouse gases.
In this changing world, it is the far-sighted who will survive. George Bush should go to see an optician.