The Wrong Type of Green

With Nuclear Armageddon only a step away, Death is wearing luminous green. Meanwhile those who vote Green are loudly saying ‘I told you so!’ and plenty more people are beginning to agree with them. Instinctively, many would probably be in favour of closing down all the nuclear power stations and using safer alternatives instead.

The Alternatives

But ask exactly what alternatives and suddenly there is very little agreement. Most people will mention the possibility of natural gas or its dirtier cousins, coal and oil. But a lot of people will also say that too much damage is already done to the world by carbon based pollution. Some will mention solar power, a few the idea of wind turbines, and even fewer might mention the idea of harnessing the power of the sea and its waves. But if these more environmentally friendly options really are valid, it is also valid to ask why so few countries have adopted them in any serious way.

The Future

The real problem is that we use too much energy and none of us are really willing to use less. The International Energy Agency says that over the next 20 years or so the amount of energy we use will increase by half and that the amount of nuclear energy we use will double. Not only that, the number of countries using nuclear power will also go up by at least 50%. These predictions suggest that not only do we want to use more energy but that there is very little desire to move away from nuclear fuel.

Ugly Green

And if we want to be cynical, is it really surprising? Wind turbines are huge, can look ugly and are often very noisy. Solar power seems to need individual investment and wave technology does not seem to have convinced many people yet. Add to that the power of oil companies, climate change sceptics and public apathy and it seems to me that if nuclear meltdown in Japan does not kill us all off, our energy consumption generally will probably do the job for us over the next couple of decades.

The Language

Looking back at the text, quantities are expressed in several different ways. See the rules table below:

Quantity Zero less than necessary small quantity medium quantity large quantity more than necessary
Countable nouns e.g. people, countries not any not enough too few so few very few a few not many some plenty of a lot of lots of too many
Uncountable nouns e.g. energy, pollution not any not enough too little so little very little a little not much some plenty of a lot of lots of too much

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