Germany, the fourth-largest economy in the world and a leader in renewable energy, produced so much energy this weekend from its solar, wind, hydro, and biomass plants that power prices went into negative territory for several hours. Consumers were being paid to use energy.
Is this information found in any US mainstream media (MSM), or is the MSM too busy spreading lies about Sanders to bother ?
Great. But so what? The far more important question is what does Germany do with all that electricity? The answer is that German industry is the main consumer of electricity and consumes enormous quantities of electricity to build global warmers -- motor vehicles -- the bigger the better and as many gratuitously filthy diesels to boot. Germany's largest export is automobiles. Volkswagen is Germany's largest company. We can never get to anything like a sustainable planet unless we abolish the production of deslgned-in-obsolescence disposable products from H&M disposal clothes to VW's disposable cars. What the world needs now is not more and more growth powered by "green energy" but an EMERGENCY CONTRACTION across the global North, almost an industrial shutdown, but at the minimum, a massive retrenchment and closure of wasteful, redundant industries of every sort. Green energy can only be truly "green" when it powers a truly sustainable economy, which can never be an economy based on perpetual growth.
Yes--we need de-growth.
There are certain very powerful people around the world for whom the idea that "consumers were being paid to use energy" is their worst nightmare and a very dangerous idea which must be stopped in its tracks.
So what? Jesus, and I thought I was cynical.
"Consumers were being paid to use energy."
This is not a good thing - it only illustrates the intermittency problems with wind and solar. There reason that were being paid is because large coal or nuclear power plants cannot be turned off or on quickly - and they need to stay running for the when the wind dies and the sun goes down.
Maybe storage schemes will be developed which will smooth out the intermittency problem, but none are feasible right now.
But it goes without saying that all coal-burning plants need to be shut down now.
WOW! Love it... thank you... haven't heard many talking like this.... I agree... this is the way to actually "DO" SOMETHING... ....
Yes.....and that would mean that governments would have to REDISTRIBUTE MONEY... from the rich... to help those loosing jobs.. so that they could feed their families... and then, those governments would have to do things like.... hand out land grants that would go with mortgage grants... for people would want to be organic farmers... to feed their communities.... small tracts... 5 -10 acres... you'd need quite a few within in a small town, for instance in order to feed people .... and get rid of supermarkets... which ARE FILLED WITH PLASTIC CONTAINERS.... made from petroleum.... people would be required to bring their OWN CONTAINERS.... all those plastic containers they have bought over the years... could be put to use... instead of being picked up for recycle in trucks spewing co2 .... just to go to some plant in which more co2 is produced to turn it into something else..... it's a container... keep it use it.... most would last for, 10 years?....
You might want to look at "Climate crisis, the deindustrialization imperative, and the jobs vs. environment dilemma" by Richard Smith published on truthout.org last year.
This is the country whose Big Chem corporations, Bayer and BASF, are debating taking over Monsteranto in their rush to consolidate near-monopolistic control over global seed supplies.
Germany is a study in Jekyll and Hyde-style contradictions:
Renewable energy portfolio vs. ongoing giant coal mining operations.
Ecologically sensitive environmental policies vs. consciously toxic industrial chemical cabal.
Compassionate refugee supporting domestic policy vs. crushing subversion of Greek sovereignty over Greek ECB debts.
So, Germany, you've reached a fork in your moral path. Which course of history will you support: civilization or barbarity?
Maybe you would care to translate this pronouncement into realistic terms? An industrial shutdown? Would that include your job, if you have one? And when you default on your lease (if you pay your own way) or mortgage because you no longer have a paycheck what should you and millions of others do in this industrial shutdown? I mean besides worrying how to get food and keep from being homeless and so forth. An industrial shutdown huh?
So a milestone that seemed almost impossible only ten years ago has been reached but that isn't enough...we need a complete industrial shutdown and a return to the noble peasant who is pure and kind and lives about 45 years and dies without teeth and hated his life of mindless toil for pennies.
Maybe we could even have a sudden catastrophic crash in human population which would save the world for shrubbery and household pests? Oh forgive my heretic soul but as much as I am saddened by the sixth extinction...people still matter more than any other form of terrestrial life. I love the diversity of species but were it to come down to saving ungrateful and often despicable humanity ...or some animal or plant species... I just would save the people ...can't help it...I just know that I would.
On the other hand I am ecstatic that Germany has reached an alternative energy milestone. It helps so much. You just know that they will be working on electric cars and such. One step leads to the next step.
You mean the German people all vote the same way and they all own Bayer and they all think the same way on everything? Gee I thought they were like us. Some are conservative corporate bastards and some were good looking helpful human beings who have embraced alternative energy while their oligarch class hasn't. One thing that is obvious is that they have made better gains on alternative power than we have. What path of history do we take?
Yes, I know this sounds completely crazy. But look at Canada's Alberta tar sands region going up in smoke. And it's not even fire season yet. Last year the Olympic rain forest burned for months, a rain forest. Look at collapsing coral reefs, mass extinctions, and on and on. It's completely natural to try to live in denial, to think that if we just tinker with the markets a bit, a carbon tax here, an electric car there, we can fix the system. But the science tells us that this is delusory, that such pitifully small efforts are nowhere near enough. If we had introduced radical cutbacks decades ago, maybe we wouldn't be in such a dire situation today. But we didn't and haven't and so now we face a Climate Emergency. Now we need to a truly draconian suppression of emissions, and right now, or the Greenland ice sheet is going to melt and the seas are going to rise 20 feet in this century (see the NYTimes piece on this a couple of days ago), in which case there won't be any jobs for anyone. That's why people like Richard Smith, Green Capitalism: the God That Failed, argue that we need to drastic industrial retrenchments and even many complete shutdowns, and we can only do that if we organize some kind of eco-socialist economy that can indeed provide new jobs for all those workers who will be displaced. Frankly, I don''t see what other alternative there is. Have a look at Smith's work on truthout.org, especially his "climate crisis, the deindustrialization imperative and the jobs vs. environment dilemma." He's not arguing for going back to horses and log houses but he does argue that we need to cashier all kinds of resource-hogging, climate-cooking industries and that is indeed going to cause some disruption. But nothing like the disruption that a 20 ft sea level rise will cause our children.
Fair enough assessment but early. Yes if we let climate become catastrophic climate change then radical deindustrialization may be necessary in some areas. That will be in twenty years barring major catastrophes which may come sooner. Meanwhile we could shift off fossil fuels really fast which has been proven by the way some nation states have gone to alternatives in a big way. Germany is a case in point. Does anybody ask just how much the German economy is now going to be saving by having become an alternative based energy run economy? The point is still that a major industrialized economy can easily run on alternative energy.
Let's get that set up before we need to try and make huge changes in the way we live. First step get off fossil fuels. Then see what needs to be done to avoid the worst. We don't need to deindustrialize... Which is an almost impossible pipe dream btw... What we need is to decouple our civilization from fossil fuels...after that a better future becomes possible.
Why not still have car and trucks and TV and whatever but ones run on alternatives? When our 250 million gas guzzlers become electric vehicles... We gain some leeway and some time.
I wish it were that easy. But the problem is that we're consuming the planet to death, not just fossil fuels. Electric cars are not a solution; they're just another environmental problem. Lithium mining is destroying fragile ecologies wherever it's mined. And "clean power" just raised the Jevons paradox: namely, that under capitalism, cheap (or clean) power just encourages more unnecessary consumption of more and more resources -- so we just end up where we started. And "getting off fossil fuels" is inconceivable without substantial deindustrialization anyway. Everything runs on or is composed of fossil fuels: no fossil fuels, no fertilizer, plastics, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and on and on. Just look at one industry: airlines. This is one of the fastest growing CO2 emitting industries. But there are no electric airplanes on anyone's drawing boards and never will be. The batteries would weigh more than the plane. Same for shipping. Also trucking. The amazing thing about fossil fuels is that they contain so much energy in such a small and light quantity. Distressing and disrupting as it is, I think the answer is that we need to massively reduce our consumption of just about everything we don't really need, or our goose is cooked. Look again at Smith and also Prof. David Klein, Capitalism and Climate Change. The problem is not fossil fuels. The problem is capitalism, an economy built on perpetually growing production/consumption vs. a finite planet. That's what's destroying our future not fossil fuels.
What is the point of repeating the same explanation. I understand your point but you just repeat that we need to deindustrialize yet you never once deal with the extraordinary difficulties that attempting that would present nor deal with the far more difficult point of how long that would take? Anyone who says we need to do away with cars needs to propose an equivalent substitute. Electric cars are the most logical. To do without them means building a new infrastructure of mass transit and giving people enough time to switch jobs or create them locally. It is absurd to think in term of a couple of decades when such a move would take several deades. A switch to electric could take only five years if mandated by government regulations. Trade in your gas guzzler for an electric etc.
There is no going to a non industrial existence it without it resulting in a massive loss of life. Modern life and the dense population of the world is sustainable only by an industrialized way of life. Make that industrialized way of life non polluting and you then have time to fine tune things. Fossil fuels are what are killing us...everything else can be changed but fossil fuels have to be replaced fast!
Aspects of an industrialized economy cannot possibly operate on the weak energy income of wind, solar, hydro systems. Many aspects of land, sea and air transportation require the concentrated energy capital in the liquid fuels obtained from the crude oil that will soon become beyond reach.
Remove fossil fuel use from cars, heating, use recyclable or alternatives to plastic etc and then the far smaller contribution of air transportation is acceptable. Moreover use of high speed maglev trains would reduce the need of air traffic overland between cities to a minimum leaving only the overseas flights operating. In short order the use of fossil fuels would be vastly reduced and various carbon sequestering methods could effectively reduce that even further. We have had this discussion and if you still think that nothing will work to avert disaster then why are you bothering to discuss the issue? Moreover you still haven't researched new developments in solar and wind have you? Nor did you read that recent article on CD where Germany achieved 90% of its total energy needs from solar and wind power and alternatives.
If most industrialized countries could remove coal (if Germany can then so can we) and the use of electric cars became standard, mag lev trains etc. the Earth's own sequestering and abatement of carbon systems would soon bring us into a sustainable equilibrium.
I do not believe humanity should perish nor be punished by suffering nor that the end is near. I believe all the things I mention will take place eventually but whether it will happen sooner or later is the question. However it will happen no matter what.
Fossil fuel use keeps adding new carbon to the environment and with nearly 8 billion people the Earth is becoming over saturated with carbon. If the fact that the oceans are dying is insufficient to clarify the issue for you then what more needs to be said?
I focus on the situation that exists today in the operation of industrialized civilization and what sound decisions can be made about coping with the inevitable powering down. You quote some possible technical developments without saying what will be done with the existing infrastructure as it irrevocably ages. What will happen to the 90000 container vessels as fuel oil becomes scarce? Your comment on German use of solar and wind to supply electricity is not true. My basic premise is that understanding of physical reality and the limit of technical systems is needed to make sound decisions. You have shown that you do not have that understanding.