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Energy & Environment
What does one do with 174 peta-watt-hours of solar energy that the sun bathes the earth with every hour; that is 174 followed by 15 zeros. You can fry anything with that much energy, if you can focus it, including all of humanity. 174 quadrillion watt-hours, that is. In fact, this is humanity's present energy availability-beyond fossil fuels, hydro, nuclear, wind, geothermal, and tidal power. To help the boggled mind, the typical household electric heater consumes 1000 watts. Imagine the heat put out by 174 million-million such heaters. This solar energy is there for the converting.
We hear about this daily in the media. But the media is running behind the times, too often responding instead of anticipating, or suggesting reasonable solutions. Playing emotional or nationalistic cards instead of using even-headed thinking is only making a bad situation worse.
Modern terrorism is a prime result of humanity mismanaging four dynamic equilibiria. Each is ultimately limited by the bisphere, and most basically, by its response to the solar constant. For humanity, each has become:
  • competition instead of cooperation,
  • argument instead of dialogue,
  • guns instead of butter,
  • automatically blaming others instead of looking in the mirror.

To use a biblical metaphor: collectively, we are destroying Eden.
Text: U.N. Environment Programme Press Release on Climate Change Talks

Following is the text of the press release.

Updated 25 Mar 2007

For as long as civilization exists, energy will be an issue. How to apportion what is available is the tipping point of our time. The issue is shifting to the limit imposed by nature. Within a few generations, humanity will exhaust all stores of enegy and be left with solar and nuclear power sources.
All energy resources are finite, including the sun. However, since the sun still has a few billion years of fuel left, it will last longer than humankind. See Natural History for why.