These Inventions could save the earth...But..
This was the
headlline at CNN on Earth Day, April 22, 2019.
We're losing the war on climate change
There are currently several technologies available which, if developed
and used on a massive scale, could potentially curtail or completely
stop climate change from threatening to destroy life on this planet.
They include the following:
Green power generation
and wind are two of the primary Green power generation technologies.
Transportation related technology: battery charging; energy storage
are key to developing transportation systems to replace carbon based
use of animals for meat is an industry high in CO2 emissions.
Development of meat substitutes is a new industry that is showing signs
Carbon capture is a method of sucking carbon dioxide (CO2) from the
air. This is done in order to cleanse the air. It is thought that if a
method for carbon capture could be developed that is sufficiently cheap
and very efficient, it might be useable worldwide on a vast scale to
mitigate and even reverse the effects of climate change.
Now comes the kicker.
CO2 can also be sold to some companies, such as greenhouse vegetation
growers who use the gas for augmenting their plant growth.
This raises some interesting questions about the motivations behind
these primarily money-making projects, or are they motivated by a
desire to save the earth? If it is the latter, how does the issue of
"proprietary technology" in patent law play out? Remember that a patent
allows an inventor to monopolize an invention. Sharing comes into play
only after the patent expires, 20 years down the road.
To elaborate, carbon capture could only be effective if it was to be
performed on a massive scale, by many companies. But this would require
that a new technology be shared by many participating companies
imediately, not in 20 years. Here, two probems arise:
First, by expanding supply of CO2, its price is reduced, making the
product less profitable for the inventor of the technology. Second,
would investors, like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezoz and other billionaires be
prepared to invest capital in the inventor company when other companies
can aquire access to the technology at an early stage, and are capable
of producing and selling equal amounts of CO2 or more?
Such an issue poses an ethical dilemma. By retaining its proprietary
position, the originating company gets to sell the CO2 at a high price,
and at the same time attract investment capital. The catch is that this
limits the amount of CO2 produced, to far below what is needed to make
a dent in the quantity of CO2 extracted for reducing climate change.
By sharing its technology with the world, the inventor and the company
loses financially, but is applauded for its high moral standards. Is
this the kind of reward the inventor or the investor is looking for?
In a nutshell, this is the dichotomy we face:
Compete, and we all lose .....Cooperate, and we win...i.e. survive
Is there a solution for this moral dilemma?
You bet there
is - it is really quite simple: Change the way we think.
Start cooperating and stop competing when it comes to an issue like
saving the planet
That shouldn't be a hard pill to swallow, even for the most hardened
libertarian among us.
is an argument to
be made, for example, in the science of sequencing the human genome,
that "the knowledge gained should be considered as the common property
of humanity " since it is a "shared asset", common to all people.
In cases of pharmaceuticals, Canada shortens the life span of patents,
in order to permit generic copies of drugs to be placed on the market
early. This is done in the name of public interest in providing
affordable drug prescriptions.
Based on such arguments, is it possible to imagine a more important
invention to be placed on this list - the list of common property of
humanity - than a technology capable of saving the planet we live on?
I will leave it to you to ponder and pass judgement on this topic.
But what about the inventors of this technology - don't they deserve to
be rewarded, hugely, for their accomplishment? Of course they do, and
this is another topic to consider.
Finally, there remains the question of exclusivity. In patent law, in
the United States and in other nations, the owner of a patent has
absolute right to (a) bar others from using the patented technology,
and (b) to retain the patent without practicing it, while litigating or
threatening to litigate potential or actual infringers of the patent.
This is the business model practiced by the so-called patent trolls
is the latter "right" under current patent law, which must be
eradicated, and the technology must be made available, without
limitation, to all parties who wish to practice it.
It will be up to
the lawmakers of nations in which the technology is used to decide how
to assist their enterprises to acquire and make use of the technology
Our big problem is that we cannot afford to wait 20 years for the
patent to expire and pass into the public domain. By then, it will be
too late for any carbon capture technology to be effective, no matter
how good it is.
Can an economic
system be changed to be more cooperative? That's an open question.
Since the beginning of 2017, America has been subjugated by a system
that has devolved into a dystopian nightmare. This is the result of an
increasingly narrow focus on personal wealth as the objective of
economic activity. This perversity has spiralled into an uncontrollable
as opulance replaced rdinary utilitarian lifestyles. This became
accompanied by uncontrolled flow of wealth into a miniscule fraction of
the population, and a growing decline in economic security of the
remaining 99% of the population. That has devolved into a mindless
clash between social groups rivalling the pre-civil war era.
We have witnessed what such obscenity has allowed the most powerful
nation on earth to become.
Handle with Care
It's not just my home
It's Yours Too
accords are not enough to stop global warming.
to save the planet
Solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions