No. 3: Ross Roberts
No. 3: Ross Roberts

POWER POINT: Climate issues hit boiling point

THERE are a couple of ways to cook a lobster.

If we are camping without modern appliances, we can build a campfire and place the lobster in mild water and bring the water to the boil slowly and it dies along the way, simply thinking "gee, it's getting hotter", but since the heat is gradual it slowly adapts to the pain until it is too late.

The other way to cook a lobster is, if we are at home with all our modern appliances, to put it in the freezer first, and it goes to sleep due to the cold atmosphere, then pull it out and drop it into boiling water where it most likely dies without knowing it.

Because there's no pain there is no warning.

Either way the lobster doesn't really know what's happening until it's over.

Are we lobsters?

In this world some of us are camping and some are living in a modern home, with our climate controlled, air-conditioned world, where we stay cool, until probably one day there is not enough power available to feed the air conditioner and we finally walk outside, feel the heat like the campers, and then it's too late for us all to change much.

We keep looking for big solutions to big problems but in reality it appears to me that the biggest solution is the people driving the problem. They are the consumers in the developed and developing countries, and they are the force driving the energy consumption, the waste and all the other problems that contribute to climate change. We are collectively the problem and the solution, if we choose to be.

If everyone could just take a little bit of pain, and a little bit of sacrifice, it would have a big effect.

If people used less energy there would be fewer power stations, if people bought fewer commodities and manufactured items, industries would start to reduce and recycle.

In the old days people didn't waste because they couldn't afford to.   Harwood Marine has been working with Japanese scientists on an air lubrication system, called WAIP/GILLS that uses very small bubbles that reduce the hull friction or drag of a ship as it sails through the ocean. This in turn reduces the power consumption of the engine and the flow-on effect is to reduce greenhouse gas and CO2 emissions.

Another positive aspect of this technology is the reduction of biofouling or hull growth (barnacles, weed etc) which is already a big problem spreading invasive species to new areas worldwide.

Trials and studies have been carried out in Europe, Japan, and Singapore and to date an impressive fuel saving result of 10 per cent has been achieved on a 90m cargo ship. But what is required is a further trial on a much larger ship for final confirmation.

I have approached many Australian companies involved in shipping to support our efforts, and to date have not had one commit any assistance. This is very disappointing, and highlights yet another reason green technology makes slow progress.

We now face a future of increasing population, and people worldwide wanting a higher standard of living, so these are some of the driving forces contributing to the global environmental problems that few governments want to address, for the fear of being shunned at the ballot box.

Whoever can find this balance between social and environmental responsibility will earn the respect of all.

Power Point is dedicated to sharing the thoughts and views of The Daily Examiner's Power 30. As influential people in the Clarence Valley, by definition their voices matter. When they speak, people listen. This week's Power Point comes from Harwood Marine managing director Ross Roberts, who was No.3 in the 2018 Power 30.