THE BLOG
01/06/2014 10:33 am ET Updated Mar 07, 2014

Iran: Nuclear Energy for War or Peace? A Renewable Suggestion

One of the many serious issues the planet faces is whether or not Iran's nuclear program is to develop weapons or to be able to turn on a switch for light, which is quite a profound difference.

The hope of course is that Iran's interest is in the latter as claimed and that they are using this method of generating power instead of others.

But if they are truly interested in developing energy sources for electrification, introducing renewable resources into this context such as wind power, solar, geo-thermal and mini hydro-power, and others would be an excellent way to insure that the Iranian people get the power they need while allowing the government to ease out of the costly and explosively dangerous continuation of their nuclear energy program.

The political issue would be laid to rest and interestingly, Iran would become positioned well to become a leader in green energy generation even as they would continue to market their oil.

Discussion of this sort, if it were to occur on the larger diplomatic level between nations, would be able to put to rest the question marks and suspicion that has been surrounding this subject for years. In fact, it would be a very interesting offer for the allied nations to offer Iran a no-interest loan to build out such renewable facilities sufficient to convert from the use of nuclear energy to the renewables.

It might even become a template for any nation currently using nuclear energy to be granted a no-interest World Bank loan to conduct a similar conversion and, over time, reduce to extinguish the use of nuclear energy altogether.

It seems to me that this conversation could be a highly productive one with peace dividends, diplomatic dividends and actual monetary benefit ultimately to Iran and any country which would follow in these footsteps, while reducing the respective nation's carbon footprint.

Germany is pretty much the world leader in going renewable, moving away from conventional energy sources at a sustained pace. From 6.3% in the year 2000 of electricity produced by renewable sources (solar, wind, geo-thermal, bio-mass, etc.) to over 25% in 2012 and is going strong.

Other countries across the world and several states in the U.S. are also committed to such conversion. As time goes on, the technologies only become more robust and numerous, from electric motors in all forms of transportation to breakthrough energy technologies along the line developed by Nicolai Tesla.

The technological advances are only increasing and when there is interest and commitment behind their application, the ability for these renewable energy sources to substantially replace the conventional reliance on fossil fuels alone is increasingly probable.

In short, can our Secretary of State, in the next round of talks with Iran's diplomats, based on their stated purpose of using nuclear energy for electricity, raise the subject of a World Bank loan for building a renewable energy infrastructure for the country which could also become a fine source of long-term revenue for the government as well?

The newly-elected Iranian President Rouhani certainly has broken with a fairly rigidified tradition of staying closed to Western efforts to talk and so making use of the new environment for diplomacy and perhaps innovation, this proposal could also do an end-run around the entire question about whether Iran has the "right" to its own non-weaponized, nuclear energy program.

An offer from the World Bank or other such institution to provide the funds for going renewable would effectively supplant it. The loan could be paid back over time as a function of revenue generated from the project. The question of funding is a small one next to the benefits to be derived from this new configuration.

The thorny question of 'rights' in this regard disappears, it could be laid to rest along with Iran's and other nation's nuclear programs across the globe.

The idea of further sanctions some politicians are floating out at a moment of a potential diplomatic breakthrough is regressive at best and furthers fear-based politics instead of moving into a pre-frontal lobe-based, more-trust-based kind of politics we need for the future.

On the renewable front and the need to let nuclear energy go the way of the dinosaurs, we have a disastrous case in point of the use of peaceful nuclear energy staring at us in the face: Fukushima.

How short our memories are, but for those who are continuing to track the global harm caused by just this one, recent nuclear disaster, know that to abandon all use of nuclear energy is one of the sanest actions any political body anywhere in the world can decide upon. The damage continues to this day and without subsiding.

It seems curious that amidst some of the most serious of weather crises we've seen in the U.S. over the past year, we as a nation, including conventional media, are not connecting the dots to Climate Change and Global Warming. We seem to conveniently also exclude the effect of the use of nuclear energy or of Fukushima on these extreme weather conditions either, though common sense and observation would certainly draw some correlations, unless someone is engaged in promoting a position of actively denying that the climate is undergoing serious transformation for personal or the protection of vested interests.

The U.N. or other political body can utilize this current nuclear issue in Iran to start moving us away from the use of nuclear energy altogether. Interestingly, Germany is committed to doing so and holds up a model of rational decision-making, protecting its people, its neighbors and planning for the future.

This could also be the beginning of the building of a green economy in Iran, increase employment and become a leader in moving away from the use of nuclear energy into the much safer and more sustainable renewable energy systems.