Letter: New wave energy

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The Independent Culture
Sir: We all want and need our motor cars, our central heating, and our jet-away holidays. All these convert vast quantities of our life- giving oxygen into carbon dioxide and this, as has long been predicted, is causing climatic and other disastrous environmental changes.

The size of the problem and the momentum of the system is such that the acclaimed five-per-cent reduction will make no significant difference.

Electricity generation is responsible for about a third of our carbon dioxide production. This is the area where there is scope for massive reductions. The use of gas instead of coal and oil does produce less carbon dioxide but the net gain, in terms of the greenhouse effect, is substantially diminished because methane is 60 times more potent and there are small losses in extraction and distribution.

Wind and tidal power can make contributions but the real need is for nuclear energy. It could - as it has done in France - have been producing 70-80 per cent of our requirements. Those who have denied us the use of nuclear power stations, arguably the safest and least polluting method of large-scale generation, bear a heavy responsibility for the present situation and the climatic disaster which awaits.

BARRIE SKELCHER

Leiston, Suffolk

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