Dr Karl Kruszelnicki took the students at Mullumbimby High School for an exciting ride through science past, present and into the future – presenting them with possibilities and giving them a message of hope for the world they live in.
Taking to the stage on Friday afternoon to the whoops and applause of the students, he covered topics from the revolution of the 3D printer (that he believes will have a bigger impact ‘than the printing press’) to the possibilities of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR).
He told the students, ‘you will be the first generation to be immortal – I’ll be the last generation to die.’
Though his support of vaccination may have upset some parents in the region, there are not many who would have disagreed with his point that it is wrong that ‘money is being ripped off out of the system and given to fossil fuel companies.’
Loss of Arctic ice
He told The Echo, ‘Out of our GDP, $137 billion a year is being given as a present, to mostly foreign-owned companies, never to be seen again.’
With 80 per cent of the volume of Arctic ice in the summer now having been lost, Dr Karl was clear that ‘climate change is real. We caused it, and we can fix it – but it will be expensive.’
Since 2014, each consecutive year has been the ‘hottest year on record’, but he was clear regarding the solution: zero carbon.
‘If we start right now, it will all be done in ten years.’
And no, it will not bankrupt Australia he says.
According to Dr Karl, to provide all of Australia with renewable energy it will cost $370 billion to make the renewable energy infrastructure and then $400 billion over the next 30 years to maintain it.
‘For coal or gas, the cost is three times higher,’ he pointed out, letting the students in on the secret of why renewables were so much cheaper in the long term.
‘If you don’t have to pay for the fuel to run the system it’s cheaper.’
Highlighting Australia’s unique position in the world he pointed to the zero-carbon Australia plan that would place Australia in a leading position to supply power, and the technology to produce it, to the rest of the world.
‘We just need to decide,’ he said. ‘We just need the political will.’
Dr Karl was in the Shire as part of the Science Stuff Festival, held last weekend at the Elements of Byron resort.