"The Clean Energy Future Is Arriving Faster Than You Think"
The shift to renewable energy to help mitigate the risks of climate change is critically important. The biggest hurdles to overcome to moving faster toward a renewable energy future are not technological, they are legislative and regulatory hurdles. At present, America is not yet a leader in renewable energy, despite our enthusiasm for it. We are a laggard. Why is that? It is a result of the foot dragging of state and federal Republican legislators supported by the fossil fuel industry and their lobbyists.
What can be done to overcome this barrier to progress? The two best paths available are either the education and conversion of Republicans to be supportive instead of obstructionist and more Democratic legislators supportive of renewable energy. Interestigly these two paths work in partnership and are mutually reinforcing. As we elect more Democrats who support renewable energy projects, unsurprisingly Republicans become more supportive of it. That also helps to move the transition to a renewable energy future more quickly.
Curiously today’s fossil fuel industry and its lobbyist are generally a hindrance rather than an accelerant to the transition to renewable energy. Yes, they have a large investment in assets dedicated to fossil fuels. However, many of those assets can be relatively easily and affordably be transitioned to support renewable energy projects and use.
We should and are going to see all of these forces help but the easiest to move forward fastest to accelerate this transition to a renewable energy future is more Democratic state and federal legislators. Let's focus on that accelerate.
"Just snap your fingers, and 40 years later the transition is really starting to happen" is one of my sayings, having made it my life's mission, in 1980, to help accelerate our society's transition from fossil fuels through efficiency and renewables. At Stanford I named my individually designed major "Sustainable US Resource and Security Policies," A.B. 1988.
So, to make an understatement, I very much appreciate this New York Times's clean energy transition series! And I liked Part 1 so much that I posted the gift link in the Chat of yesterday's Hopium Hangout. Glad you gave it to everyone today, Simon!
Simon - thank you very much for highlighting the climate topics in your post. It has taken an abominable amount of time (I read Rachael Carson's Silent Spring in 1963 when I was 10) but finally a majority of humans are taking action to help our world. I hope it's not too late. The world environment is my number one concern; Democracy in America is my number 2 concern.
I am so excited about the plant in Mingo Co, WV. I live in the county bordering that. The people there are wonderful, resilient, and hard workers , the tradesmen, fathers, mothers, and well known for their ability to put out more than a decent 8 hours.
This is a state too long taken from , rural, wild and wonderful, with beautiful parks, recreational opportunities , and a potential in its people that will surprise the best.
We so hope Adams Fork and CNX get the show on the road! They’ll not be disappointed.
Thanks , Simon and the staff.
Oh yea, and I forgot to throw in the banjo playin’ , and fine home brew 😉👍
Very hopeful. And there are major scientific and engineering advances everywhere, including a new type of white paint that absorbs atmospheric carbon. What continues to scare me, however, is the potential melting of the permafrost in the Arctic, and the methane release. (8 times more powerful than CO2. ) If only we had started this 20 years ago. Julie Melton,,Trustee, Nature Conservancy, New Mexico
The thing that I have been waiting on, seems to finally be happening… It is now better business and better economics to be in clean energy than it is to be in fossil fuels… I knew once that domino tipped that shit would get real in a hurry. It’s going to be really fun to watch America transform over the next decade (and the world at large). 😎🇺🇸
I love today's Hopium update (especially coming on the one-year anniversary of Biden's passage of the biggest climate legislation in our history)! Partly I love it because the carbon pollution the fossil fuels industry is spewing is THE single biggest issue facing us today. And partly because it's a topic near and dear to me based on my 'day' job, but one of the key reasons I volunteer as part of the grassroots community to help elect Democratic majorities in state legislatures.
Most folks may not know, but least a dozen states are now considering what's called a "clean fuel" or "clean transportation" standard, and there's also interest at the Federal level.
Clean Fuel Standards (CFS) are one of those rare policies that can appeal to lawmakers and stakeholders across the political spectrum, because they take a technology-neutral, performance-based and market-driven approach to directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by counting ALL the carbon in transportation fuels (from well-to-wheel, not just at the tailpipe). A CFS not only cuts the heat-trapping pollution blanketing the earth, it delivers cleaner air for better public health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs.
And, by breaking the 100+ years monopoly petroleum dictators like Saudi Arabia and Russia have had on transportation fuels, a CFS also enhances our national security, creates high-paying, American-made jobs in a large number of innovative low carbon fuel industries (dairy, agriculture, engineering, manufacturing, etc.), AND also lowers costs for drivers by providing competitive and cleaner alternatives to gasoline & diesel!
Like our goal to get to 55 by thinking about a broader coalition of voters -- people of color, young voters and the Never Trumpers -- to effectively decarbonize, we have to consider not only our energy sources, but also our transportation fuels sector, which is separate and distinct.
Government, industry and each of us as individuals, who can pressure those entities, need to demand an "all of the above" approach without delay and at scale.
We literally HAVE the solutions -- we just need the political will, i.e., the Democratic majorities in states, Congress, and the White House to deliver them.
Here's some more info, more graphs, more clean economy hopium: https://cleanprosperouswa.salsalabs.org/capwa-newsletter_8-16-23?wvpId=51d90446-16a9-4ae2-b345-3374123dcadf
Awesome post Simon and awesome comments! Thank you everyone
Several years ago I watched a beach eroding in Southern California in a big storm at high tide. Another observer, who had been watching this drama for a couple of days, pointed out that the erosion didn’t happen gradually. The waves would work steadily on the seaward side of the dune we were behind, but occasionally a big wave would crest over the top and soak into the sand on our side of the dune. Eventually the sand would become saturated and with the next big wave, large chunks of the dune would collapse and disappear into the water. Obviously, I was horrified at watching the dune collapse, but it serves as a model for how collapse occurs in certain circumstances. And it gives me hope to see the barriers to renewable energy collapsing in just this way. I’m certainly glad I’m on the side of the water this time.
Oh, wow! What an encouragement to hear we are moving to cheaper, more reliable energy sources, producing them here in the U.S., and making sure they benefit ALL Americans.
I definitely needed this today. 😁🌱
Thought I had posted on grasslands, and how they absorb carbon. Massive protected area on the way to being the size of Colorado is called the Southern High Plains Initiative. Sponsored by the Nature Conservancy chapters in New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma.
Thanks, I love your work with the one caveat that there is nothing remotely green about green, blue, white or pink ammonia. Please check out the nine planetary boundaries. We humans have now breached six. It is absolutely essential for the survival of our beloved living planet that we get the planetary science right.
The biggest overshoot is in novel agents. This means the amount of highly toxic chemicals , carcinogens and plastic that we are pouring into our rivers and oceans .
In addition nitrate based fertilizers are leading to massive dead zones in our oceans. Soberingly we must never ever forget that ZyklonB the poison gas that the Nazis used to murder six million babies, children, girls and women was a pesticide.
Regenerative agriculture, fishing and forestry are where we need to focus. Earth for All recommends addressing poverty, inequality and creating healthy food production for people and planet, removing pollutants and then tacking energy. Warmly, Frances Scully
Thanks Patricia, I am Canadian. I follow what is happening in your great country because we are all interconnected. We have some concerns in common and some different. I hope people in this group check the work on the nine planetary boundaries and comment on these.