Decarbonization Dilemma: My Top 10 Predictions for 2020
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- Jan 28, 2020 6:47 pm GMTJan 27, 2020 10:43 pm GMT
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This item is part of the Predictions & Trends - Special Issue - 01/2020, click here for more
OK......Full disclosure.....These are not exactly predictions. My draft blog called "Holiday Wish List" got stuck in my pre-holiday drafts folder! So now it is the first full week in January, but it still seems like I am in the media window to make predictions - or in my case to convert my wish list into wishful predictions.
I would love to have feedback from you as to whether you think any of them can come true in the new year we find ourselves in.
Here are the top ten "Things I Wish I Could Predict for 2020":
1. Clean Energy gets defined as zero-GHG energy. Nuclear and Hydro don't get tossed out of that basket on the face of it. (More about Hydro is coming in a future blog post).
2. The idea of natural gas as a bridge to the future collapses. Natural gas (and associated methane) becomes fully understood to be a carbon-laden fuel that should not be considered clean energy. Building natural gas-fired power plants becomes a non-starter, and investment in other types of natural gas investments drops off rapidly. Utilities and others start to think twice about creating future stranded investment.
3. Energy efficiency benefits from a wake-up call, and broad recognition develops that energy efficiency is not on auto-pilot, and not even close to being fully tapped (as evidenced by the recent report by ACEEE and other organizations). New efforts are undertaken across the board on EE, including in some areas that are not always front-and-center in the minds of policymakers and the general public.
Also, Demand Response gets recognized as being a dynamic type of EE, and not something totally separate from it. The concept of Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings (GEB) becomes firmly embedded in the way that the nation's building stock is constructed, renovated and modified.
4. Political leadership develops in a most states on a push for time-based pricing. A broad assemblage of NGOs provides active support, realizing that all of the evidence from research, pilots and full implementations show that customers of all stripes will be OK with such pricing.
5. Leaders and stakeholders from all political persuasions conclude that carbon pricing is a market-based option for GHG mitigation, and therefore it is acceptable to enact in a bipartisan manner.
6. States and other jurisdictional bodies develop, and require others to develop, resiliency plans. Resiliency evaluations become required for all new energy projects. The White House's current proposal to modify the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and eliminate climate change considerations from environmental impact statements does not come to pass.
7. The brains of policymakers are jogged such that they remember that infrastructure investment is a bipartisan no-brainer for the most part, and that modernization of the electricity grid infrastructure is key to both climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation. They also remember how long it takes to actually build things, and thus move quickly on the infrastructure front.
8. Policymakers as well as all of the rest of us remember what we learned in Statistics 101, and start viewing data in context. For example, those focused on emissions, or who feel good about the growth rate of renewable energy, also realize that in 2019 the U.S. was the world's leading country for oil and gas production.
Everyone begins to focus not just on data silos, but on what the collective data for clean energy vs non-clean energy indicates in terms of the next 10 years.
9. Climate change becomes a true voting issue, i.e. people cast their vote next November based on what the candidates, including the current President, will do over the next four years. But it also becomes a voting issue at the state and local level, as the power of those type of policymakers to address mitigation and resiliency in a disaggregated yet meaningful manner is realized.
10. Climate change becomes a persistent topic at dinner tables, in bars and restaurants, and anywhere friends congregate. This reinforcement via discussion leads us to do what we can as individuals and groups to ensure a sustainable future for our descendants.
So.....what's on your own "I wish these were my predictions" list?
What do you think about mine?
Any that you think are too much to hope for? If so, why?
Any that you think are simply not achievable?
Any that you think will actually happen?
I would love to hear from you. Like I said in #10 on the list.....We all need to talk.