Recently Al Gore held a passionate keynote address at a Electrochemical Society Conference which was picked up by a few blogs. Of course a number of comments were placed by both supporters and by critics of Gore’s claims. Personally, I believe that it is not so relevant to discuss whether global warming is caused by human action or not (warming itself is not so much disputed) but how to react to this phenomenon.
Clear is, however, that we humans, are changing the environment in a unprecedented pace. We are exhausting natural resources that are non-renewable and we will reach the moment that everything is gone. And indeed, there is a lot of scientific evidence that global warming is caused because of us using fossil fuels and changing the composition of the air.
Now, there are people that believe that technology will help us here and solve all our problems. Well, bad luck, that will not happen. Technology will certainly be able to help us in certain ways (for example by making solar energy available in a useful form or to make available more energy efficient solid state lighting) but technology alone will never be able to solve our fundamental problem. Why is that? That is directly an outcome of a fundamental law of thermodynamics: the Second Law also called the entropy law. This law tells us that it is impossible to restore previous situations. More about that in the coming weeks.