Energy and the Environment: A view from Asia

John Baez reports on the 2010 Singapore Energy Lecture, given by Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore.

His lecture was clear and precise — very different than the rhetoric-filled talk I’m used to from American politicians when it comes to energy. He began by discussing the twin problems of peak oil and global warming.

What interested me was his use of the term ‘peak oil’, which I’ve never heard from the lips of an American president. But of course, I’ve never seen one speak at an energy conference.

He said that Singapore is “an alternative energy-disadvantaged country”, so option 1) is limited. He explicitly mentioned that most sustainable forms of energy have a low ‘power density‘, and again his correct use of jargon pleased me. He said that even if every building in Singapore was covered with solar cells, that would only generate 10% of the necessary power.

He said that the use of nuclear power was an option one cannot afford to dismiss….

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