They cut both ways, hard
1. I was thrilled, driving towards the Cape Cod Canal recently, to see all four wind turbines there spinning faster than I've seen them spin before--and I've seen them a lot.
2. I had been thinking that September had felt like summer, and now I know I'm justified, thanks, Bill, to today's The Crucial Years.
3. The gigawatt of solar a day--a nuclear plant's worth--makes me very happy. That's a lot of hope coming online!
4. Pope Francis is a breath of fresh air.
The sun has been literally the only asset we' ve had since the beginning. It seems right that it is also our only way out. No sun no party!
Always a timely and incisive read from Bill. The terrible facts with some hopeful ones to avoid unhelpful paralysis and despair.
A gigawatt of solar nameplate capacity per day is noteworthy, but is it the same as the output of a nuclear power plant? The claim is vaguely formulated, so it could be tweaked to be true, but it's presented in a way to make you think it's replacing a nuclear plant that also has one gigawatt of nameplate capacity. But the capacity factors of these two gigawatt plants are very different -- solar typically has a capacity factor of around 25%, while nuclear has a capacity factor usually in excess of 90%. So to get the equivalent total gigawatt hours of a 1 GW nuclear plant, you'd need a little more than 3 GW of solar PV. Not only that -- since the 3 GW would generally be operating at the same time in the same location during the sunny part of the day, you'd also need batteries to absorb the power on 2 of the 3 GW, so it could be shifted to other times of day. Battery prices are coming down, and new types of batteries, including thermal batteries, are coming on line, but they still need to be included to give a full equivalence of solar vs. nuclear. I'm fully supportive of solar plus storage as a large part of the answer to the energy transition, but it helps to be accurate in your claims.
This comment is about moving to the next stage of climate actions in order to prevent worst case scenarios. We must work together, present feasible proposals, and create a cohesive movement that promotes fairly detailed plans for decisive actions, planning to halt and start reversing global warming within years.
Carbon neutrality by 2050 is far too late for the poor, most affected areas. Governments must be compelled to treat global warming as the worst crisis in human history and act more decisively than during WWII (then all industries were mandated to work on government defense contracts).
We consider the following to be first priorities
More people must learn how terrifying present plans and proposals are:
Present approaches, “business-as-usual-with-incentives” would lead to weather catastrophes becoming more frequent and much more deadly for decades. As many densely populated areas become unlivable, there would be mass migrations, likely violence worldwide, and also a dramatic decrease in biodiversity.
But people must also learn about feasible, highly effective alternate paths for our future. We must halt waste and consumerism, save energy and resources in every way possible: We need ultra-light electric vehicles and trains, not Teslas and planes; wood and bamboo, in place of concrete and steel; cooling white paint, not more air conditioning; trees, not cattle; etc.
Government-funded public-private partnership nonprofit enterprises (PPPNE) are needed to reform industries and land management. Governments must restrict bank lending to curb consumerism, inflation, and all the serious emotional problems caused by indebtedness. Governments must create comprehensive safety nets.
People will be healthier and happier with much less consumerism, living more simply with more interpersonal connectedness.
Heinz Aeschbach, MD humanecivilization.org
Here in the SF Bay Area we have a plant near Port of Stockton, BayoTech, is on track to provide hydrogen fuel cells to the industry with plans to expand their use to other areas such as ships,buses, trains, trucks, and automobiles. Have you looked into this industry and seen if it is a viable option for commercial and residential use? They have a recorded webinar which I attended promoting their technology which will give people a better understanding of the process. The CEO was in charge of the Port of Los Angeles (I believe)
Interesting information. Thanks.
I have been an environmental advocate for my entire life. There is a dire need for people to wake TF up! In 2008 my family and I took a journey across America spreading a message of inspiration and action. The campaign was "Support Our Planet. It is Your Home Too." We had magnets and actionable steps that any person could pledge to. This was starting to gain traction, but when we landed in CA, of all places things took a really bad turn. I have spent the last 15 years attempting to recover from the wreckage and now write here. The most recent articles I have written offer a media action based empowerment campaign. This includes development of soft skills, solution based stories with AI, and other articles on various environmental and health routines to bring our planet back to her thriving self. When we focus on the ways to build personal resiliency and prepare for the imminent fallout, I believe, we will be far more effective in our response to the growing criticality of our global situation.
Tell me how much energy does it take to make all these solar panels? How bad for the environment is the deposal of these cells? How is the impact of these wind farms the environment that were never really studied ? You climate activists go through life with blinders on.
Bill's sensible argument about the necessity of casting a Biden vote is a mark of how ridiculous the discussion has become. I just followed it the opposite conclusion. John
Great read, very well put. You can very much feel September feeling like summer in recent years - but especially this past September.
Thanks for your article, but you have greatly understated the potential of the Sun as a contributor to Climate Change mitigation.
Using my patented Combined Remediation and Bio-Product Production (CRBBP) Process, one plants then multi-tasks very fast and large-growing Bio-Crops, to cost-effectively capture large amounts of atmospheric CO 2, remediate air, soil and water, and then to make a variety of Bio-Products, in which the captured Carbon can be sequestered.
Thanks to the sun's free power, our CRBBP Process’ CO 2 capture cost, of $35/Ton, may be among the least expensive in the world!!!
And, rather than spending more energy and money pumping the captured CO 2 into the ground, we convert the capture Carbon into a variety of Bio-Products in which the captured Carbon can be sequestered, while also generating revenues.
I look forward to your reply.
Joseph J. James, President
Agri-Tech Producers LLC
116 Wildewood Club Court
Columbia, SC 29223
Cell: (803) 413-6801
My very rural, very red county is currently struggling with new solar installations. A few loud individuals are raising a ruckus and spreading lies. I run our solid waste district and addressed the lies at a recent board meeting with elected officials. Hoping and praying and working to bring solar power to our county!
I am a wind & solar critic who has returned to advocating for buildout of decentralized, community based, micro-grid alternative energy systems – for those countries & places that can afford it. The reason is not that I think renewables will "save" us, or displace FF use going forward. The reason is that energy security for any number of people will help somewhat to reduce tensions in societies under siege from climate impacts; energy, water & food insecurities, and political & economic mayhem.
But I strongly believe it will be a drop in the adaptation bucket of short term solutions – and that techno-optimism as a planet-saving premise is unjustified given serious countervailing energy system structural realities and resource constraints. Consider what is well understood:
1. Wind & solar contribute only ~8 or 10% to the power (electricity) sector, US & globally.
2. The power sector itself is ~20% of total energy, ~80% is FFs. So, currently, wind & solar contribute ~0.31% of TOTAL energy.
3. Generous estimates are that renewables (not including existing nuclear & hydro) will have a 50% share of the power sector in 2030. They would then be at 0.4% of total energy.
4. Meanwhile, every country is now openly committed to ramping up FF extraction & use, guaranteeing further carbon overload, accelerating warming & worsening climate events...portending further resource wars among governments & corporate/industrial players. COP28 is brought to you by UAE big oil. Militarization of operations to secure energy & mineral resources is already a fact.
5. 3C degrees of warming over pre-industrial levels that threatens human & biosphere survival is baked in mo matter what we now do. Or so science & the data tells us.
Do we continue the fantasy that renewables are our salvation or do we face overarching facts?
I live in Vienna, Austria, and yesterday we had 23 degrees Celsius. The usual temperature at the beginning of October is 14-15 degrees. Next Saturday we’re expecting 27 degrees Celsius. I’ve been wearing short sleeves throughout September and now October.
George Monbiot’s childish attack on Chris Smaje, distracts from that fact that Chris utterly dismantles Monbiot’s arguments for fermented food in Regenisis. Notice how Monbiot does not call any attention to this but distracts by criticising Chris Smaje on other less important points of the book (that he actually answers in his first book Small Farm Futures). Neither of the two men have the answers to global food issues as it’s such a difficult problem. However if they could talk to each other properly (like they used to years ago) they might work out something interesting and useful. I think if you share Monbiot’s article you should also share one from Chris Smaje, he is on here. Look him up.