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'It Can Be Done': New Report Details Path to 100% Renewables by 2050


'It Can Be Done': New Report Details Path to 100% Renewables by 2050

Jon Queally, staff writer

With scientists and experts from around the world telling world leaders with increasing urgency ahead of upcoming climate talks in Paris that "It must be done," a new report says "It can be done."


It can be done, but to ignore the growing population of humans is to sabotage what needs to be dealt with.

We cannot all have quiver-full families, unless we get rid of all vaccines. If we want a high birth rate, we're going to need a high rate of death too.

I'd say it would be better to have fewer children, so that others may live.


Any co$t$ argument against (distributed) renewable energy is bogus because 1) as defined, co$t$ hide numerous and deadly externalities and are illusions at best and 2) (distributed) renewable energy is the MORAL choice. TPTB must be hounded out of their comfort zone whether they be hoarding and controlling energy or hoarding and controlling debt (a la Greece). Money should serve humanity, not vice versa. The current "economic" paradigm MUST BE SMASHED!


"It can be done" and I did it.
I put in 24 panels in a land based grid tied electrical system four years ago. The array generates more electricity than I use and will pay for the initial investment less than 10 years - some will get a quicker payoff of 5 to 7 years - and the array guaranteed for 25 years (the panels). I also assembled an electric car from a kit and licensed it for the road. I don't use it very much because gas is still cheap and convenient at $2-$3 a gallon but if it went to $10 a gallon I would use the car and it would begin to pay for itself.
So, the utility will pay me each month for all that I generate for a long time, and I won't pay them anything except a small monthly fee (~$6) for using their grid. And I get all the electricity I can use, including a car to drive if I care to use it.
What's not to like?


no mention here on the benefits to the common health of all , from the cutback in pollutants from burning the coal etc . Seems to me that should be a big contributing factor in the decision to go renewable , unless of course big pharma sees a prospective loss of profits and lobby s against clean energy ..


Consider the $6,000,000,000.00 that was spent to build the Seabrook Nuclear power plant.
Then consider the cost of storing the nuclear waste essentially forever.

Now consider if that money had instead been used to build PV and/or hot water panels and the factories to manufacture them - all serving the same geographical area.

Even at RETAIL prices of $20,000 per solar installation, this would mean 300,000 installations. With quantities of scale, it would even get more efficient.

Rather than a net energy drain, we could have been producing renewable energy and creating local jobs for all of these years. We are late out of the staring gate, but it is still possible to start doing things right.
But we should eliminate the massive subsidies that we give to the nuclear power industry, and if only a fraction of those subsidies were used for renewable energy, this country could actually be on a path to sustainability.


Exactly. Furthermore, solar and wind also use resources. They aren't made by magical wood nymphs.

So you increase the population at three additional people per second and use wind and solar.

It is still a disaster.

Also this forgets the damage has already been done. CO2 is already in the atmosphere. It is just going to get worse.


And the war machine? Solar powered aircraft carriers? Subs, jets, tanks, and on and on. Plastics, lubricants, clothing, shipping? The amount of plastics that enter the waterways of Earth daily is equivalent to the weight of all humans. Fertilizers? How much oil is required for your evening supper? Fruit with plastic stickers displaying their brand; EVERYTHING shrink wrapped in plastic. As for solar energy, too many want the same lifestyle that depends on over consumption and endless growth. Recycling is not the answer when production increases. How many barrels of oil to produce one electric car? How many to maintain it? Roads are not made from banana peels.


Yes, nearly everything we use in the society around the world is made from oil. So one hundred percent would mean replacing everything.

And at the same time stopping the population from growing at three additional people per second.

And dealing with the damage already done with CO2.

If you don't start with population, you're just talking about fantasy.


One hundred percent? So, all the products made from oil, which is nearly everything on the planet, will be made from something else. All the food will be made without oil.

Also wind and solar use resources. How will those be made without using oil? And what happens when the products needed to make solar and wind run out?

Consider that the population issue is totally ignored in this article, you can assume that wind and solar will use up resources quickly, since people will just keep having more kids, because you know, Greenpeace.

Also, the CO2 is already there. It is already beyond a disaster. Solar and wind are going to fix that?


NO! This does not mean we will be 100% running on renewable energy. As usual Greenpeace like most Auto Addiction blinded Environmental groups ignores the fact that for the US as an example 70% of oil consumption is for Auto Addiction which in turn directly generates 35% of US greenhouse emissions. As Naomi Klein keeps pointing out and has been pointed out for years by the Peak Oil community, Green public transit is the only way to ensure mobility. Private electric cars still killing 30,000 people a year, consuming huge swaths of land, 10 times that of Rail, requiring traffic cops, traffic courts and a football field of asphalt for every 5 cars is not going to solve the problem of Auto Addiction. What CAN solve the problem is the Dutch example running their electrified Green Transit Rail - already the Dutch Rail system is 50% powered by renewable energy, The Dutch have concrete plans to have 100% of their extensive Rail system run by renewable energy by 2018.
See Dutch Rail renewable by 2018
"Running on wind: the Dutch rail network’s renewable revolution
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20 August 2015 Julian Turner

The Dutch rail network will run entirely on renewable wind energy by 2018 under a new contract signed by power company Eneco and energy procurement cooperative VIVENS. Julian Turner gets the inside track on the unique collaboration from Michel Kerkhof, account manager at Eneco."

But the Dutch already have an extensive ELECTRIFIED Rail system.
The US Rail system is falling apart even in the Northeast which it actually competes with Flying and makes a profit. We need to invest trillions to restore a electrified renewable Transit system in the US. This takes time. Even just building new tunnels to replace the critical tunnels to New York City will take years and an estimated $20 Billion.
We need to do this NOW!
Or people will not be able to get anywhere when gasoline prices go back up once again


This article is a horribly-perfect example of Einstein's dictum that we can't solve problems using the same thinking (premises) that created the problems.

Or, as Audre Lord put it, the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.

If we want to avoid pan-extinction, we must at a minimum (a) cut the human repro rate in half all around the world, and (b) use technology---it's well-understood!---to cut our energy draw down to where we can meet the demand without destructive processes.

But we won't be able to do that unless we 1) unite and take over government, and 2) box up the psychopaths and replace Capitalism with a global economy of open-handed sharing.



Cloggieland isn't a good example. The country is (a) small and (b) FLAT. That's how they can ride loaded bikes that have an unladen weight of 25Kg without herniating themselves. Comparing Cloggieland with Kansas would be more or less fair, but not with the whole of the US.

That said, reviving the interurbans would be a very good start.


You are correct, sir. They also have a population density sufficient to make 100% mass transit feasible. My Nissan LEAF has no engine, no radiator or water pump, no muffler or exhaust pipes, etc. so I suspect it took fewer resources to build than an internal combustion engine car. It runs on power from roof-mounted solar panels and it will last many years, never emitting greenhouse gases. So I would not say that all-electric cars are a bad thing. Still, I ride my bike for short trips. The U.S. population will never have sufficient density to provide mass transit for everyone.


Cloggieland? Yuk! As the US becomes increasingly urbanized, geography will be less relevant.


Without a revolution in battery storage technology, wind and solar will never be able to power the grid...for the simple reason that sometimes the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow. Capacity does not equal power generation. You end up with no generation when the weather is not cooperating or overgeneration when they are running at max capacity.For this reason there will always have to be extremely large backup generation by coal, natural gas, biomass, or nuclear. All of which has there assorted drawbacks. This is one reason Germany has been building coal plants as fast as they build wind and solar. Countries should put their scientist on working on better power storage.


That's why technologies like compressed air storage are important. They're nowhere near as dense as a lithium battery, but the embodied energy in their manufacture relative to the the amount of energy stored and retrieved during their useful lifetime is unrivalled (roughly 240 times the energy used to make them is one estimate). That's an incredibly important metric if we're going to transition on a large scale.

There are other options though. My favorite for 24/7 electricity is plant-e's technology which harvests surplus electricity generated from plant root's interactions with soil microbes, because it's an obvious thing to combine with urban agriculture. http://www.plant-e.com/

There are amazing options for the future, and some of them do significantly better in full-lifetime impacts than others.


Your electric car still uses 10 times the green space of Rail bicycles or walking.
Auto Addiction kills 30,000 people a year, time spent driving has a 90% correlation with obesity. It requires a football field of asphalt to park 5 Nissan Leafs...
Is it better than internal combusion engines? Only for the fuel source...
The Auto Addiction Lobby has been propagandizing Americans for years about how "the US is too spread out for Green Transit' WRONG!
In fact 79% of Americans live in urbanized areas according to the Federal Highway administration itself. And a Brookings study in May, 2011 found that even with the anemic public transit in the US that 70% of Americans in the top 100 US metro areas ALREADY live only 3/4ths mile from a transit stop!
Brookings study
I discovered that since the 1920's Alfred Sloan head of GM had been buying off College Planning Depts to plant the lie that Auto Addiction is required for the USA.


Five football fields of asphalt to park five Nissan LEAFs? Where does that statistic come from? How many football fields of asphalt does it take to park five cars with internal combustion engines? As to population density, your points are very well made. Thank you!


Yep already 79% of the US population lives in urbanized areas according to the Federal Highway Administration. And the proportion is growing as Millenials and others move back to the cities...