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Now Is the Time to Eliminate Fossil Fuel Energy


Now Is the Time to Eliminate Fossil Fuel Energy

David Suzuki

If nothing else, the G7 countries' recent agreement to end fossil fuel use for energy by 2100 signals a shift in the way we talk and think about global warming. Previous agreements were about reducing carbon emissions from burning coal, oil and gas. This takes matters a step further by envisioning a fossil fuel-free future.


If we didn’t have all the problems associated with fossil fuels, we would not have the incentive to get rid of them. But who am I to criticize evolution’s nastier side?

Why do we seldom if ever see articles on overpopulation, the worst environmental problem of all?


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All the talk cannot deal with the real physical problem. There is an existing commitment to use fossil fuels to operate and maintain the vast aging infrastructure of the industrial economies. In many cases (eg jet fuel) there no viable alternative to using fossil fuels. The best that society can possibly do, despite the hype, is gradually reduce the rate of use of fossil fuels, improve the effectiveness of measures, cope with the loss of some services (airliners and other transportation capabilities) while trying to cope with some of the deleterious consequences (pollution, climate change, ocean acidification) of the unwise past and present usage of fossil fuels.


One of the best series ever to appear on TV was Suzuki’s “Planet for the Taking” (1985?). It has been unavailable to buy, rent or borrow from almost any source for years…except for an episode or two being for sale occasionally on Ebay. I’ve contacted the Suzuki Foundation and Canadian Broadcasting and never received a response.

Apparently it just went too far in its criticism of big oil, big ag and factory farming…


Freedom lovers (all of us) and religion stops people from talking about regulation population. Lack of education breeds more population growth and deaths. Just educate people, however, whites in US are having more babies to combat the growth of brown and black. They think we are being marginalized by our 1 or 2 children and need to keep up.

I agree completely that over population is the root of all of our problems.


It was as if we at once thought that we had an infinite supply which we could dig and drill out, while at the same time believing that in doing so we were not adversely affecting our environment through readily apparent reckless pollution …


You bring up good points. Why should it be so nearly “unthinkable” that we just eliminate jet flying? Or a hundred other things.

What if, by divine miracle, jet flying were ended tomorrow, forever? After the initial disruption, what would be the course of human civilization?

Why is it “unthinkable” that we would simply STOP non-essential uses (and there are MANY, and MAJOR) of fossil fuel? We could start with the military… but commercial jets are a huge impact too.

Why is it “unthinkable” that human aggregate energy used might decrease? Or that the decrease might be led by “advanced industrialized” countries leading the way with elimination of whole categories of wasteful non-essential energy?

There’s an embedded assumption unspoken in much dialog about addressing climate chaos:

“Profligate energy use shall remain essentially unconstrained by ecological or social needs.”

Within that axiom, if we care about justice it follows that:

“We need an energy system that provides the opportunity for such energy profligacy to 8 billion humans.”

But why should the profligacy of “The West” “free trade” capitalist societies of “freedom” mass consumption and manufactured consent… be the unspoken norm behind “projections” of human energy needs and the “need” to continue mining fossil fuels? What action, what energy embedded in which objects, are we actually talking about?

How can we determine what is “needed”? i mean, aside from a plutocratic oligarchy structuring the economy as they like… looking for a different way of determining what is needed. It certainly appears to me that there is vast profligacy, and we could “project” an energy future, one step down, rather than endless escalator up, that would provision healthy food and housing for everyone and work a lot better with the Earth than the current system.

i don’t think anyone is going to give up their smart phone, or what’s about to evolve from the smart phone, their car, or the general category of consumer goods. It’s pretty much unthinkable. And neither the plutocratic oligarchy, nor the emerging network technology, will be corralled without concerted human action. “And so we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe…”


OMG, you just asserted that overpopulation in the USA is due to black and brown people, and whites are fighting back by making more babies! When did the circus get to town!


And one corollary:

“Any improvements in energy or carbon profile, shall result only from switching to improved technologies.”