“Something gravely important had gone missing. Something related to reverence—to holding on to the ineffable wonder of what already is, caring for what little remains, being cognizant of how quickly we’re losing it. As we attempt to develop new energy sources and figure out how to feed ourselves and inhabit this warming world, we need to remember what, apart from technological worship, drops us to our knees.”
This movement has really taken off in many places. The main problem that I see with it is that in a number of areas it is still very difficult to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, Relatively few cars do not run on fossil fuels although that is gradually changing and trucks, and buses can’t run on anything but fossil fuels. Planes and ships all run on fossil fuels. Most heating requires fossil fuels. So you can’t cut off fossil fuels until we are able to replace them in transportation and heating. That places some limits on what this movement will be able to accomplish.
Unfortunately the term ‘renewable’ energy conveys a false impression to most people. Sonar and wind systems use weak solar energy income to intermittently supply some electricity. The systems are made of irreplaceable materials and have limited lifetimes. They cannot produce the concentrate energy of liquid fuel (from crude oil capital) used by most forms of land, sea and air transport. Most of the existing infrastructure cannot possibly be replaced be ‘renewable’ and the little that can be will only happen slowly.
Just came to CD to scan the headlines this morning. Will have to come back and read this article.
Saw on the news crawler this morning that Peabody Coal has in fact filed chapter 11 bankruptcy papers.
I write in praise of this piece, its content was very interesting and useful, and encouraging. These young activists are working to protect the earth, and human and all species health-- to do what 98% of the climate science community says we MUST do SOON to save so much of the earth’s species and ways of life from devastation .
I think, when the above two posts refer to the “difficulty” of going to renewables at this time, they ignore the necessity for rapidly building that infrastructure and commitment to the road to 100% renewables. That commitment of resources was there in the previous century, to subsidize the fossil fuel industry. It has to be there, with more urgency, now. There is no ‘alternative’ to renewable energy.
Doesn’t matter. The laws of thermodynamics don’t change just because were ( humanity) too lazy or too stupid to figure out “other” ways to get around or stay warm then burning Fossil carbon. A first step to boosting these "other " ways is to start and tax Fossil fuels properly to include their externalized costs. We also need to immediately stop subsidizing them. Once you do both these things Fossilized carbon energy gets much more expensive to use and the real transition begins. Unfortunately, at over 400 ppm of CO2 already up in the air there will be hell to pay for our sloth in this matter. Again, the laws of the natural world don’t wait around for us to do what’s necessary to either put ourselves and our society right with them or pay the price going forward. One more thing , this all isn’t going to happen in any kind of linear way. The human race is soon to learn exactly what the words abrupt Climate change mean and with it the words Exponential change.
The simple reality is that so called ‘renewable’ energy systems (mainly wind and solar) can do no more than supply some intermittent electricity. They cannot possibly transform the electricity supply system nor can they supply the liquid fuels for transport. The belief that they can contribute to combating climate change and ocean acidification and warming is a pious dream