Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The Solar Impulse 2, an attempt to raise awareness of the environmental issues, by flying around the world the world using solar energy, has been forced to abort an attempt to fly from Japan to Hawaii due to bad weather.
According to the National Geographic;
The Solar Impulse 2, a plane attempting to fly around the world using solar power, was forced to land Monday in Nagoya, Japan due to inclement weather.
The experimental aircraft — flown and financed by Swiss businessman and pilot André Borschberg — is now two months into its quest to become the first solar-powered plane to circumnavigate the Earth.
The Solar Impulse information page spells out its green mission:
Since the ecological movement appeared on the scene in the 1970s, an irreconcilable conflict has divided those who want to protect nature, and who call for reductions in mobility, comfort and growth, from those in business and industry who defend people’s employment and purchasing power. Today, for the first time, this cleavage can be bridged, and the answer is clean technology. At last, technologies exist which can simultaneously protect the environment in a cost-effective manner and bring profits to companies.
The problem with our society is that, despite all the grand talk about sustainable development, we are a long way from making use of the clean technologies that are already available to us. Every hour, our world consumes around a million tons of petrol, not to mention other fossil fuels, spits back out into the atmosphere enough polluting emissions to disrupt the climate, and leaves half of the population stagnating in totally unacceptable living conditions. And yet, everything could already be so different…
What can I say – I admire Borschberg’s courage at attempting such a difficult feat. But his failed attempt to fly to Hawaii was surely a perfect metaphor for what is wrong with renewables. Borschberg’s plane can’t carry cargo or passengers, it can barely carry its own weight. It would have been impossible to construct without high tech petroleum based plastics. And when the weather turned against him, Borschberg’s ingenuity and courage was helpless to overcome the inherent shortcomings of renewable energy.