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A New World Beckons: The Future Belongs to Renewables


A New World Beckons: The Future Belongs to Renewables

Michael T. Klare

Historically, the transition from one energy system to another, as from wood to coal or coal to oil, has proven an enormously complicated process, requiring decades to complete. In similar fashion, it will undoubtedly be many years before renewable forms of energy -- wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, and others still in development -- replace fossil fuels as the world’s leading energy providers.


What a nightmare scenario: Gates and his tiny gang of hyper-looters, throwing a few trillion dollars at "green technologies" like "new nuclear" and "innovative" geoengineering schemes...


All avenues will be explored; it doesn't mean they will be implemented.


The hubristic mindset that dis-membered and dis-integrated the world, will not re-member and re-integrate the world. We don't need innovative, we need integrative. We need a holistic approach to everything that affects the ecology. We need a trillion-dollar investment in innovative humility projects.


Score one for the future!!! All those depressed (understandably) about the seemingly inevitability of catastrophic climate change take heed. There is hope and sanity out there.

Great article and very enjoyable to read (as positive news often is).

The future isn't quite as bleak as we have come to believe. This article relates to significant changes ahead but in fact it is conservative (but in a good way).

The prof doesn't even discuss the cumulative effects of small scale local shifts to renewables nor personal/individual home owner rooftop solar.

Would that all the world's governments (hello Congress) agree to make rooftop solar mandatory like Dubai.

In any case it is happening... A future that our children can believe in takes shape...finally. Humanity is waking up to the danger we face and doing something about it.

I think the prof is too conservative as to the pace of change. Five years for us now equals a few thousand years of natural climate change. As humanity begins to see just how certain climate change is and weather related events keep scaring people, people will want a faster change over to renewables, so these good news figures will actually be on the low end of projected gains.

The only scary news is of the geoengineering oligarch solution. Let's hope we can skip that quick fix gamble that goes 'all in' on the planet Earth.


The plug-in hybrid list of benefits and advantages over the other EV drivetrains is long. The safety advantage of regenerative braking is lost with hydraulic drivetrains; electric drive itself is a safer propulsion system. The relatively small PHEV battery pack is consequently less prone to overheating and fire. Households with EVs gain a backup power system, especially important in an emergency grid failure. PHEVs offer a 'portable' power system less dependent upon the grid and better suited to affordably smaller 'rooftop' photovoltiac arrays. The limited all-electric driving range of PHEVs offers an economic incentive to drive less, whereby walking, bicycling and mass transit may serve more travel needs, thus reducing the traffic hazards of driving for all purposes. New models of PHEVs are more adaptable as light duty utility vehicles, moreso than BEVs and FCEVs. The questions of vehicle safety, EV compatability to utility grids, PV solar and vehicle fleet needs should be integral to the discussion of conversion to electric drive. As it turns out, the means to use renewable fuels more sparingly leads to using fuel/energy least.


Right you are! I love my 100% electric LEAF. And thanks to roof-mounted solar panels, it costs nothing to drive and I got a $7500.00 tax credit for it. And its pickup is better than any gas-powered dinosaur. The BMW EV outruns the 600 horsepower BMW. I learned that during a test drive. I went for the LEAF over the BMW because it cost less but delivers the same awesome performance.


Perfectly stated. The whole history of modern mankind is that of one technofix after another, each purported to solve the mess created by the previous technofix. Today the mess has whirled so far out of whack in every facet of the global ecology that it should be perfectly obvious there's something fundamentally wrong with this pattern, if rational thinking ruled.

But where people live, how they eat, drive, and desperately distract themselves from the urgent voice of conscience, is something aside from any rational process. Destructive practices have burrowed deep, over the course of centuries, into our very identities, into who we think we are.

You might be interested in Hal Niedzviecki's book Trees on Mars: Our Obsession with the Future.


"The questions of vehicle safety, EV compatability to utility grids, PV solar and vehicle fleet needs should be integral to the discussion of conversion to electric drive." If as you say, "Right you are!", your preference for all electric BEVs makes no sense. Both BEVs and PHEVs have an ideal use. The Smart Car that isn't electric, isn't smart, for instance, in that such mini cars aren't designed for high speeds nor long-distance drives and their small battery pack is also ideal for urban car-share systems. PHEVs however are more ideal for household backup energy supply systems that are more compatable to regional utility grids and to affect local economic development whereby more needs can be met without having to drive. We drive too much, too far, for too many purposes. We fly too much, truck and ship goods around the world too much. The all-battery electric car misleads consumers into believing we can drive as much as we please; to save a nickel on a barrel of Costco bananas and serve corporate employers who derive income from car-dependent commuting to distant workplaces. etc etc.


Are you shouting "You are gonna die! You are gonna die!" at the man on his way to be executed? I think he knows.

But of course others (myself included) don't agree with that fatalism. In any case... why are you constantly saying that? Seriously why? Ego? Insanity? Passive aggressive antisocial hate?

What good would it do to say it even if you were right? Try a little sympathy and empathy... and pitching in a little might help too, you know! In case you are wrong and all is not lost as yet... stop making geoengineering last ditch quick fixes more likely. Sheesh!


You should elaborate as to why you think that way and engage people in discussion about it. However just saying "All is lost." is no different than wearing a placard saying the End Is Nigh.

Wearing placards is not a fashion statement imo. :innocent:


Don't apologize. It's ordained that our civilization will crash. Simple logic dictates the impossibility of continuous exponential growth in a finite world. To think otherwise is simply to walk to the cliff edge wearing a blindfold. We don't deserve sympathy, we are engineered to do it, to use up everything we can to keep going.
All civilizations crash, but this will encompass everyone, not just Easter Island, or ancient Rome.
The only thing is to acknowledge the mess we have made and at least try for a soft landing instead of the chaos due if we don't make any plans.


The use of the term 'renewable' energy contributes to the misunderstanding of what is really happening and failure to put into place rational adaption measures.Using solar and wind systems made of irreplaceable materials to use weak energy sources to replace the use of strong energy sources such as the fossil fuels in providing electrical energy will do no more than fill a niche role for a few decades. In addition, they cannot provide the concentrated energy in liquid fuels required by sea and air transportation. EV cars will only be a small contributor to land transportation in the future.


The discussion of COP-21 is an example of uni-dimensional thinking. Add to it the amount of energy consumed in war making. Consider the amount of energy consumed in thus far decimating Iraq (we're not finished). Recently we have dropped so many bombs on Syria that we have exhausted our (the U.S.) supply. Unless we couple the sacrosanct military industrial complex with the global heating issue, we are doomed do failure. Resist the war makers for two reasons. First, since World War II we have lost all of our wars to guerilla warriors. Secondly, the global heating issue will impose a cost that will vastly exceed whatever benefits are perceived from conflict. When we think of one of these, we should reflexly think of the other.


Solar power can be harnessed via mirrors to run turbines and generate electricity.

Ship can use wind, sort of like they used to.

Intra-continental travel via railways is extremely practical so why fly to Florida or Disney world when you can go by high-speed train in greater comfort?

Large cars are not needed for small journeys, and not even for long journeys these days.


Solar power over a large area can only provide a small amount of intermittent electrical energy. There are many thousand cargo vessels, using fuel oil. Sailing vessels can only slowlt replace some of those ships. High speed rail in a number of countries meet a small proportion of the demand for long distance travel. People have been saying for years that The U.S. should also install high speed rail but very little has been done. Americans are still addicted to using their cars and flying in airliners. Using small or EV cars is having very little remedial impact. Ironically, Americans to their consumptive life style and mode of transport that they are prepared to accept the deleterious impact of fracking in order to get oil for a little longer