‘Power surge’ up next on NOVA

One might think science would be beyond debate.

Contentious societies, though, do find the time to argue about almost everything, including the science that is designed to give the world black-and-white answers to compelling questions.

PBS’s NOVA explores one of those topics on Wednesday. “Power Surge,” to be aired at 8 p.m. on KACV-TV, examines the latest innovations scientists hope may reverse the tide of climate change.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/

And here is where the public policy debate begins.

Why even bother trying to change something that is part of a global cycle that is far too big for mere mortal human beings to even ponder, let alone affect? Climate change is occurring, according to mountains of scientific data. The debate centers on its cause: manmade or natural?

Many scientists believe human beings are responsible because of the burning of carbon-based fossil fuels and the atmosphere-warming emissions they pour into the air around us. True? Maybe.

Then again, many other scientists argue that climate change is occurring merely because the planet is due, that its changes are part of the global cycle that has been occurring since the planet’s creation. When — and how — that event occurred, of course, is the subject of another debate … on another day.

Industry is finding ways to produce energy from cleaner sources: sun, wind (both of which we have in abundance in the Texas Panhandle) and water all are viable energy sources. The trick, according to some, is to produce enough energy from those sources to offset the burning of fossil fuels.

NOVA examines those options. Will it end the debate over climate change? Don’t bet on it. At least we’ll have some more information at our disposal as we argue the point.

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