A Clean Energy Transition?

I hope you all downloaded the just released DNV annual report covering worldwide energy emissions. A key question it addresses is “at what point will renewable energy begin to replace fossil energy in actual terms?”

Drum roll please … and in Johnny Carson Karnak style, the envelope says: “Renewables are still not replacing fossil fuels in the global energy mix, barely meeting growing energy demand. CO2 emissions will be only 4% lower than today in 2030 and 46% lower by mid-century.”

A 4% impact in the next 7 years? That is two Presidential election cycles! Then the answer is we are not going to get to heaven with anything we are doing. Worse yet, even though we will eventually start bending the carbon dioxide curve to stop rising, we are a century away from meaningful change … a century!!

Don’t get me wrong. I am still buying green bananas, but this kind of timeline makes no sense.

We must deal with the politics of life, which are also in transition. People look for easy answers and most often those where they have no accountability to change their personal lives. We are certainly not going to see politicians elected who elicit personal sacrifice as part of their national citizenship.

Politicians follow predictable tricks: Tax the rich, ban the problem areas, and villainize opponents. They know you don’t win elections attempting to educate the masses to understand the issue at a deeper level so we can begin to think about real changes that will work.

Please do read this excellent report but note that nobody is talking about the consequences and futility of all this because they all want to tap into the flow of money attempting to solve it. Meanwhile we are witnessing China wipe out the world’s fish populations … after all, they are fishing in international waters where rules are almost impossible to police. And we in this country are consuming more and more per household living in the largest houses in history.

Yes, guilt and shame are rising here around our personal carbon footprints and that tactic is gaining traction on one level. One of our friends who does not own a car laments how big his footprint is attending opera concerts all across the country … flying around to see and hear operas he has heard dozens of times before. And, why not … doesn’t he deserve to live out his retirement any way he wants?

Plus, we in the US are no longer the problem children on this stage. China, India, Pakistan and others will emerge to join the list of countries trying to catch up to our lifestyles. They will rise out of poverty to mimic our glorious standard of living, and isn’t that only fair?

Watch how that backfires in the hands of our politicians. After all, why should I pay to reduce a problem when others are responsible and are not paying?

The success scorecard has been global carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. No one has the courage to show the graphs besides me.

If they did, they prove we have not bent the curve over in the near term. And, if we believe the answer is to dial up the renewables even further, we will keep pushing out that inflection point further because of the embedded carbon in their fabrication.

There I go again … assuming the right people are reading my blogs, or if they are, are willing to do something to truly make a difference other than to feather their own nests.

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