Home | About | Donate

Our Zero Emission Future


Our Zero Emission Future

Jeffrey D. Sachs

The solution to human-induced climate change is finally in clear view. Thanks to rapid advances in zero-carbon energy technologies, and in sustainable food systems, the world can realistically end greenhouse-gas emissions by mid-century at little or no incremental cost, and with decisive benefits for safety and health.



Nature does not look at a part of the picture, as is Dr. Sachs. Nature always responds to the full complete picture. Dr. Sachs needs to deal with the full picture and that would include all heat sources and the deteriorating capacity of nature systems, including in the U.S., to handle the heat.



2050 is coming sooner than we realize, but 80% by 2030 is our more important goal at this point. We must start using the 2030 date more often, since 2050 is seen as “too far away to bother with now”



“The total system costs of renewable energy, including transmission and storage, are now roughly on par with fossil fuels.”

That is because renewable energy is embedded in a fossil fuel based economy.



Agreed, two years ago should not be considered new. I like Jeffery Sachs mostly, but I didn’t think of this as his area of expertise. If he has an interest in this area, he should have done a thorough literature review (he should have the resources and even people working under him who could funnel him the best papers) and then summarize the results so we can see from his perspective what the trends and variations in cost estimates are.

Overall, my understanding is I think commensurate with yours - when you add the storage costs into the picture, renewable energy (RE) remains more expensive and the problem is worse as the percentage of RE goes up. That to me doesn’t mean not doing anything, but I’d like to do the things that make the most sense now with the limited amount of political maneuverability we have, as well as get to some understanding of what we could do if we get more maneuverability in 2021 (which I sure hope we do).



Dr. Sachs argues for renewable energy based on cost, when most people today are arguing that it is to save our immediate future!
Those who care more about cost (and I agree this is a practical side that must be considered and WILL be considered by most big users) will understand that as the usage of renewable becomes in demand, it will cost more. Conversely, as the usage of fossil fuels goes down, it is will become cheaper! So there is this flux.

It is interesting that heating is mentioned. Rooftop water heating is effective in areas with sun, is being implemented on a wide scale around the world. Electrical cars have not only to fight big oil but also the big car industry. One by one, new methods and new practices will evolve.

Some will be done because it is cheaper. Others will do it because it is the right thing to do. Moving out of fossil fuels must be done!

1 Like


Fossil fuels could also conceivably become more expensive if enough producers were prevented from supplying it. Cut the supply. Keep it in the ground! There is a long way to go on this aspect but the journey has begun.

1 Like


I agree with Bernie’s plan to not allow any new fossil fuel development but I wonder about the details - are there going to be lawsuits over undeveloped assets that corporations will demand compensation for? Would they win that demand as @KC2669 often points out is something to be considered with conservatives gaining ground in the judiciary? If Bernie were to become president with enough of a majority in the Senate to end the filibuster and in the House to underpower any rogue democrats (I wish I could say this was likely), then maybe this could happen. I support other things like a carbon tax on the order of 100-200 dollars a metric ton of CO2 ramping up to over a thousand by the time there are plenty of substitutes in all sectors (note: the date Sachs is targeting which is quite widespread in the literature is 2050, not 2030 or 2035 as AOC or others would like and which usually brings the ire of posters like KC2669 or PaulSweene who claim the earlier date is pretty unrealistic and I’m inclined to agree (Note: I may have Paul’s username misspelled, but I see his post that I replied to in this thread and his account are gone - unless this was his choice, I don’t approve of this unneeded censorship)

Interesting stuff about Brazil in the Sachs piece - I had not heard about any potential boycott of their agricultural products but I would support such a move - I don’t think that would make the poor suffer much more, but it would send a message to the rich land owners and Bolsonaro that there are some limits.

On the Impossible burger, Sachs is right - it does taste like meat - so much so, that I can’t stand them and tell every vegan restaurant I frequent to not have them as the only option because they are disgusting - give me a normal black bean based burger as an alternative (and make it cheaper as I’m sure the Impossible brand is costing a premium - one venue charged an extra dollar for it.



Divesting in fossil fuels does not seem to bring lawsuits…yet. And refusing to buy plastics and other fossil fuel products is still a right of freedom of choice! If Big Oil sues over measures taken to reduce carbon burning, then this should be included as part of the debate.



Agreed. I’m only speaking of a ban on any new fossil fuel projects which will be viewed as a seizure of assets (because companies purchased assets based on the fossil fuels they are estimated to have and have a plan for a production date that will be interfered with). In a similar vein, I’m wondering what kind of suits health insurance companies will bring, but I’ll respond to that in the other thread about their stock value dropping (yay!).