Going to Mars in Ten Years

Toru Hashimoto yesterday tweeted this:

僕はエネルギー供給体制を転換させたいと思っている。しかしそれをやるには具体的な計画を作って方針を宣言する。10年後に原発0!と叫ぶのは、10年後に火星に行くぞ!と叫ぶのと同じレベル。具体的な計画を作って、本当に可能となれば、それは立派。その時点で評価すべき。今は叫んでいるだけ。

I will skip a full translation, but he compared the promise to get rid of nuclear energy in ten years with a promise to go to Mars in ten years. And he said that just stating a goal is meaningless without stating the plan for getting there.

As anybody paying attention knows, Germany will phase out nuclear in ten years. And comparing that to a Mars mission is an interesting thought.

If true, Germany would really have something to boast about when actually pulling the energy transition off. On the other hand, I am afraid phasing out nuclear is easier done by many orders of magnitude, so that part of the comparison may be not quite correct if taken literally.

But the other point is also of interest. And I disagree.

There is nothing wrong with setting a long term goal and leaving the question of how it will be done open for later discussion. That happens all the time. I recall that the Kyoto protocol did exactly that, requiring reductions in CO2 emissions from developed nations while leaving the question on how to do that for later.

The Desertec vision is another example. Getting to a large desert installation in the next couple of decades is the vision. It is a valid idea, even if there is no plan yet on how to exactly proceed in June of 2026, which would not make any sense now anyway. Who knows how the situation will have changed until then?

Anyway, I like this comparison to a Mars mission. If we don’t get it right, we may be headed for Venus instead.

 

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

3 thoughts on “Going to Mars in Ten Years

  1. Nice post. I think the major problem with Hashimoto and his ilk is that they are trying to frame the energy transition as some sort of impossible dream. He and other politicians with similar views are a problem to be solved, not a solution. They do not present any clear plans to solve the current problems themselves.

    When John F. Kennedy demanded that the USA get to the moon before the end of the decade, it was an inspiring vision and clear cut goal that the American nation was able to attain.

    Germany is moving similarly forward with clearly set goals.

    In the US and Germany both there are many naysayers similar to Hashimoto. Until they present logical solutions to real issues rather than merely trying to drag down political opponents with criticism, I think they deserve little trust.

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  2. Joining forces with Ishihara seems to have dampened his enthusiasm for phasing out nuclear power. But I am actually quite pleased that he would compare this with a mission to Mars. While it is much easier than doing that, the vision necessary and the scale of the project is very big in both cases.

    Maybe this can be condensed to one sentence: We’ll go to Mars next, once we have done the energy transition and solved global warming.

    Like

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