and not from Hell/Exxon.
Appreciating you and the breath of hope you bring for the future. Thank you Bill.
Another brilliant and concise piece, Bill, laying out the progress and obstacles to progress in the energy transition. I'm happy too that you noted that the tragic uselessness of growing corn for ethanol could be reimagined as enough land for solar panels to power the entire U.S. grid. I'd like to push back a bit, though, on valuing forests too much by their CO2 sequestration. Any climate solution that's a hard hit to biodiversity, like deforestation for panels, isn't much of a solution. Swapping intact habitat (whether forest or desert) for panels should be at the bottom of the to-do list. Here in Maine, for example, I'm seeing far too many solar projects cashing in on clearcuts when fields and other disturbed areas should have been prioritized. I know you know all this better than I do, but wanted to put in my two cents.
What a terrible thing to do to a golf course. Some of us prefer grass to silicon. Put the PV in the ocean and leave the land alone.
Bill, I saw your photo and note that everything you're wearing is probably made using natural gas. Cotten is grown using natural gas based fertilizer. There may be some polyester in there as well. We all know that without fossil fuels, nuclear and hydro there would be world-wide famine and frozen humans. Indeed, doing without conventional energy resources could reduce the world population to that point that surviving on wind and solar would be possible -- like we did a few centuries ago. Let's not do that.
Attacking oil and gas is ridiculously easy and may provide a brief endorphin rush, but doesn't move us forward. Creating a wind and solar industry the size of the oil and gas industry is only possible if it's cheaper. Wind and solar are only productive for about 6 hours per day so the production capacity needs to be 4x oil and gas, assuming energy storage capacity coverage large enough for 75% of the day. The productivity challenges of contemporary solar, wind and storage make it difficult to compete economically with prehistoric solar stored in oil and gas that's available 24x365.
Eventually, scientists, engineers and capitalists will overcome these thermodynamic and economic barriers using electrochemical process intensification and economies of hardware mass production.
Paving over golf courses with silicon really won't help.
Placing solar farms on open land is extremely short-sighted and furthers the idea that energy production must occur at great environmental cost. Viewing scrub and desert as expendable habitats aligns with the exploitative perspective that land is expendable, and undervalues biodiversity and the life-sustaining functions of the Earth.
There are many opportunities to install solar on the built environment: buildings, parking lots, roadways, etc.
Great info! The one critique I have heard of solar energy discusses the supply chain for the actual parts. E.g., Where are the metals sourced from? Where are panels manufactured, and what are the emissions of that process?
Would love more info on this! Thanks!
Bill and Matte
Touché for the Great Articles.
To bolster your point , in fact , Nail It!
No more arguing from the other side, please , I implore everyone to visit a site called WorldoMeter?
Scroll down to Energy.
Read it and it will open your eyes , it should Frighten you, Enlighten You, and at the sane time Inspire you to make changes.
“Our job is to stop them”
Or, we could define our job as mobilizing tens of trillions in society’s shared savings aggregated into social superfunds for social purposes pegged to security in our future to take control of the Exxons of the world by financing their exit from share price trading, placing them into stewardship where they can be directed to become and supported in being part of a rapid REPLACE to RETIRE strategy for habitat security (without which there can be no financial security).
More words. Not such an emotional campaign slogan.
But maybe an actual solution.
Bill, just to fortify your very on target and pithy note that we should "point out, over and over, the sheer wonder of the replacements we have on hand," we can reference some comprehensive studies that show renewable technologies are ready now to completely replace fossil fuels, in the U.S. and worldwide, and at low to zero net cost without even considering the saved cost from climate damage. Here are some links:
William, J.H. et. al., Carbon-Neutral Pathways for the United States, AGU Advances 2(1), January 14, 2021. (https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2020AV000284)
The International Energy Agency, Net Zero by 2050 - Flagship Report, May 2021 (https://www.iea.org/reports/net-zero-by-2050)
Jacobsen, M.Z. et al, 100% Clean and Renewable Wind, Water, and Sunlight All-Sector Energy Roadmaps for 139 Countries of the World, Joule, August 23, 2017 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joule.2017.07.005)
Jacobsen, M.Z. et al, Zero air pollution and zero carbon from all energy at low cost and without blackouts in variable weather throughout the U.S. with 100% wind-water-solar and storage, Renewable Energy 184: 430-442, January 2022. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0960148121016499?via%3Dihub
EVIL! #Exxonknew! Sue them all to Hell for trillions and use the money to help pay for rapid transition to cleaner energies! Many states are going court to sue for their roles in sabotaging their own science proving worst scenarios of global warming from fossil fuel CO2 releases via mass media manipulation and weak greedy pathetic puppet politicians - surely there are a few intelligent and sane judges/juries left in the USA to bring down these evil insane oil corporations once and for all! FED UP!
Thank you for this article! It really lifted up my spirits today.
But we have surpassed 1.5 now.
Thank you. As always. For research and writing.
Thank you, Bill, for all your work! Some good news.
Thank you Bill for your faithfulness to this work and to keeping us informed
While living in Lapryor TX about 45mi from Eagle Pass I met a project engineer for Aramco (Saudi Royal Oil Company) that told me the Bush family gave most of the crude drilling rights in TX away decades ago.
Most Texans have no idea that the natural resources, they brag about having, don't belong to them anymore.
I want to read this.
Yeah, agreed. There really needs to be more investment and expansion of the solar power industry, in order to generate sufficient amounts of energy from the Sun.