Take five minutes to read this article in Fast Company, “We know how to build an all-renewable electric grid”, which uses links to academic articles, to illustrate the feasibility of reforming the power generation infrastructure of a huge country like the United States, resulting in its complete decarbonization and the generation of enough electricity to recharge all land transportation, as well as being able to heat buildings, produce steel using electrical power, and to create enough renewable electricity to produce hydrogen for a host of other requirements. All this without the need to resort to nuclear energy, which nobody wants in their back yard.
Progressive improvements in renewable energy mean it is now possible to use sustainable power to feed national grids in advanced industrial economies: science can now refute the lies spread by people like Donald Trump.
Transforming our energy generation infrastructure is one of the most urgent tasks in tackling our climate emergency: electricity generation creates around 25% of greenhouse gas emissions, transportation contributes around 14%, while a great many industrial processes that today use energy obtained through fossil fuels can be converted to electricity.
Converting to clean electricity means more than illuminating our homes and powering the national grid: we would be creating a source of energy to help boost the sectors of the economy that produce the remaining 75% of greenhouse gas emissions. Cars and electric buses, domestic and industrial heating and cooling systems along with energy-intensive factories. The transition to renewable energies will lead to a drastic reconversion of the balance of payments of many countries and the development of a new geopolitical order, but it will also play the biggest role in mitigating the effects of the climate emergency, meaning we must do it as soon as possible. It is no longer a matter of infrastructure amortization cycles: it is a question of survival.
Our climate emergency is a tragedy of the commons on a global scale: the rational and selfish decisions of each nation have worsened circumstances for all. Why should anybody reduce its greenhouse gas emissions when they are so reliant on the energy resources that emit them? But if we all follow that rationale, which is what we’ve been doing for a long time, then we will all suffer the cumulative impacts of all those emissions. In other words, what is best for each country is worse for the planet as a whole. At the same time, what is worse for each country, over time will benefit the planet. At this point, that’s the only viable solution.
This post was previously published on Enrique Dans and is republished here with permission from the author.
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