Mankind has been given an opportunity.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been isolating, driving less, flying less, factories are shut down, etc. Carbon dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and other pollutants and greenhouse-gas generation has been reduced dramatically — reduced enough that people in India can see the Himalayan mountains for the first time in decades. At night, the stars are brighter and satellite imaging shows cities that are usually very smoggy are clear.
This should show us the impact of fossil fuels on the biosphere. This has happened very quickly.
If we do nothing about climate change when the pandemic is declared over, our activities will return to normal and the air quality will return to “normal,” which is actually abnormal.
Generation IV nuclear power generation is safe, efficient, creates much less radioactive waste than previous designs and does not create these pollutants. If we cut the red tape and get going with this reliable (i.e., not a bomb) energy source and create an electric economy, we may have a chance to stop, and even reverse, the effects of these pollutants.
Solar and wind power take up too much land area to provide for a solution to the problem. To replace the output of Vermont Yankee would require a solar array of 6.5 miles x 6.5 miles. If we install the wind generators and solar panels on the oceans, we could save precious land area. However nuclear power is a much faster solution to reducing/eliminating greenhouse gas emissions.
Unfortunately, petroleum prices have tanked, so electric vehicles will be less cost-effective than they were three months ago. Nonetheless we must stop using fossil fuels now.
If we do not eliminate the greenhouse gases soon, the impending climate crisis will be way beyond the hurt caused by this pandemic.
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