News, Science & Technology

Split directions on energy

Renewable energy policies could split Boston University students this election.
In a poll of 100 randomly selected BU students, participants were given both candidates’ plans for renewable energy without being told which plan belonged to which candidate. Forty-two students said they preferred Plan A, John McCain’s plan, in regard to renewable energy, and 58 students said they preferred Plan B, Barack Obama’s plan, in regard to renewable energy.
Sadie Ferguson, a senior in the college of Arts and Sciences, said many of the candidates’ suggestions for renewable energy sources are not actually efficient.
‘No coal is clean coal, and I think the only reason that people go after it at this point is because it’s a cheap form of energy,’ Ferguson said. ‘As far as nuclear energy goes, it’s relatively expensive, and it’s hard to find places to store it. It has negative effects exponentially because of leakage problems, so I’m not really down for that, either.’
Ferguson said she believes the full answer to a more carbon-efficient world does not rely entirely in renewable sources.
‘I really support infrastructure that’s more efficient in cities,’ Ferguson said. ‘I’d like to see more forms of public transportation in cities and more efficient forms of mobile energies that work best outside of the city, because some things that work well on the outside of Massachusetts won’t work well in the middle of Massachusetts.’
Poula Bacheco, a senior in the Center for English Language and Orientation Programs, said that if she could vote, she would vote for Obama because his ideals on the need for renewable energy align closely with hers.
‘If I could convince somebody to vote, I’d tell them to vote for Obama,’ Bacheco, who is not an American citizen, said. ‘His ideology is what’s most important to me, but I like that he seems to have a renewable energy plan that’s more likely to work.’
Ryan Raithel, a CAS senior, said the most important attributes he looks for in the campaign relate to how candidates portray facts or propaganda. In turn, the most important factors in climate policy relate to how factual he believes both candidates’ plans will be.
‘I do support nuclear energy because if it’s performed responsibly in terms of disposal then it can work,’ Raithel said.
CAS professor Adil Najam said both candidates spend too much time emphasizing new green technologies and don’t spend enough time telling people in the United States that people themselves are going to have to change they’re lifestyles. Both candidates are also vague on which fuels they’ll really be investing in, Najam said.
‘They’re both saying the quality of products will be cleaner, and you will have to change nothing, and the magic of technology will make everything better, but that is never going to happen,’ Najam said. ‘Technology is part of the solution, but I’ll believe it when I see it.’
School of Management professor Nalin Kulatilaka said technology can at least help us to soften the changes we need.
‘Wind and solar energy are not predictable, and we cannot store efficiently the energy we get from the sun or the wind, it has to be managed smartly.’

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