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Monday, April 15, 2024
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A young person’s guide to green energy, 2030

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‘No, Jasmine, you can’t be radiator monitor. You know they’ve been turned off for months. Why else are you all wearing your thick coats from those nice people at the clothing bank? Wind your scarves right round your necks and those with hats, put them on again, please.

‘First lesson today is Geography – I saw you pull that face, Christopher – and we’re going to look at what is called Green Energy. Yes, like those wind turbines, Anna, quite right. Why are so many not going round? I told you last week, the new blades have been ordered from China but a lot of other countries want turbines these days so we are in a queue. Yes, Bryce, like your dinner queue but it’s whole countries not just you children. No, Bryce, that doesn’t mean there are a lot of people waiting outside the blade factory.

‘You remember I told you about our world warming up? No, Safir, not quite like being put in an oven. Our summers will get warmer with a lot more sunshine. This is going on because we have been burning lots of coal and oil. Did you ask what for, Kerry? To give us electricity, of course.

‘So why can’t we switch the lights on? Good question, Melvin. We had to stop using coal and oil so the world can stop warming up. That explains the forest of wind turbines next to the village, and those huge fields of solar panels on the way to town. All to make the electricity without using coal or oil.

‘Did somebody ask why we only get electricity for a few hours now and again? Tracey? Have you noticed there’s hardly any wind today, and it’s cloudy? How do you think turbines and panels work in this kind of weather? Try and use your brain, girl.

‘Your father says we should be building nuclear power stations, Olivia? We are going to, of course, but new ones cost an enormous amount of money. Why can’t the government use their money? They are using it, Lucas, to help countries much worse off than we are. So they can have solar panels like us, and make barriers to stop their villages flooding.

‘Was that you again, Lucas? Yes, you’re right, some houses in our village do get flooded and I’m sure the council will do something soon. Now back to Green Energy, today’s subject. Did you know there is another big meeting this week of all the countries in the world? You did, Melvin? I thought you might. This year it’s at Perth in Western Australia. Yes, clever child, it’s their summer this month, quite right.

‘Your parents have been there, Lydia? And it has fantastic beaches? I don’t suppose our world leaders will have much time for that kind of thing. Where were we? Oh yes, it’s called COP35, which means Conference of the Parties. Why 35 James? Because they’ve had them every year for 35 years. Lots of very important people will hear the latest information about our poor old warming world and decide what we must do to make it better.

‘Noah? – you’ve heard that some people are so upset they’ve been protesting in London? Yes, that’s right. They’ve been sitting on main roads and stopping all the traffic. They do have a catchy slogan, I’ll write it on the board: SYTO, SYToL. Say Yes to Oil, Say Yes to Life. No, Daisha, they are wrong, they want us to go back to all that nasty coal and oil to make our electricity. But yes, Chloe, it would be nice to have some heat on.

‘That’s a very good question, Alec. They say the world is really getting warmer, but when Mr Harter showed his class the graph he had drawn of the temperatures, it didn’t seem to be warming by all that much. But there is all this bad weather about, I suppose.

‘Did they have bad weather in the olden days? That’s another good question, thank you David. Yes, I suppose they did. My grandma used to tell me about snowy winters and storms and floods. That gives me an idea for your homework, and please do not pull faces like that, David, when I’m talking.

‘As I was saying, for your homework, go and find the oldest people in the village, maybe your own grandparents, and ask them what the weather was like when they were young. Ask them: has it really got warmer? Is our bad weather really any worse than theirs? Tell me what they say next Monday.

‘Don’t forget we’re all going to the food bank later on to top up the school’s supplies for this week. They say they have lots of tinned sardines. Just bring back whatever they have, Alison, and stop complaining.

‘Maybe by the time you’re grown up you’ll have electricity all day.’

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Ivor Williams
Ivor Williams
Ivor Williams is a freelance writer and has been a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society since 1984.

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