About 18 months ago, we were in Kathmandu, shouting at some beaurocrat about how to get permission to import solar panels (the way to get permission, is to import some and have them tested to prove they are appropriate - despit the obvious chicken and egg scenario here - it was also not yet possible to have them tested because the fees and methods for this hadnt been agreed - since 3 years!).
We had done some sums and calculated that assuming the mains electricity (mainly hydro) continued to fail, and assuming we had to use a diesil (at record high fuel prices) generator every day, and also assuming minimum maintenance, then we would recoup the cost of the solar panels in about 8 years.
It was not possible due to the beaurocracy, and soon after the cheap mains electricity came back online.
In these times where the electricity was only available for a few hours a day, the relatively rich went and bought deisil generators. The poor made do in the dark. This meant the rich could make progress and the poor fell further behind.
This brings me to the Copenhagen summit. I'm glad that the original aims failed for a number of reasons.
Firstly , to deny the poor in the world cheap electricity will keep them poor. Family sizes will only start to shrink in poor countries once people reach a certain level of wealth and children become a financial burden rather than a financial asset. This has happened throughout the world where countries have developed. If the poor countries are allowed to develop at full speed then the world population will stop growing in the forseeable future.
Secondly, I have been doing a lot of reading, and it seems that the supposed consensus about the effect of man made CO2 does not exist. It was a case of a policy looking for evidence - and a policy backd by a lot of money. It seems that a very small number of scientists have had an unbalanced level of influence and have used unsavoury tactics to supress peer review of their findings. Here is an interesting article on this subject htttp://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/12/18/terence-corcoran-a-2-000-page-epic-of-science-and-skepticism-part-1.aspx . There seems to be stronger evidence that global warming (the planet has not warmed since 1998) , is a result of how the sun affects cosmicrays which interact with the water vapor in the atmosphere to cause clouds (this is affected by CFC's - so good that they are banned), Here is a good summary http://joannenova.com.au/globalwarming/skeptics-handbook-ii/the_skeptics_handbook_II-mq-v1.3.pdf
So, while i think the hunt for cheaper, cleaner forms of power is very desireable ... not at the expense of the poor in the world, and not at the expense of simple freedoms. The incredible aims of the Copenhagen summit were based on policy led science rather than impartial disinterested science informing policy.
here's some other websites, where people are examining the work of the few scientists at the core of this debate.
and here's the website set up by the scientists who inform the International Panel on Climate Change - http://www.realclimate.org
Do some reading
ps... probably the last time i use the Mypashmina blog for a rant :) I'll find somewhere else to do it.